This Sunday afternoon in Arlington, TX, the Cleveland Browns are an ideal opponent for the Dallas Cowboys, and they happen to be surfacing at a nearly perfect time in the season. In no way is that suggesting the Browns are poised to lay down and rollover for a spanking.
That type of dominance should be the outcome when a talented, desperate team like Dallas squares off against the NFL’s 29th ranked offense and 24th ranked defense. But Cowboys fans know all too well, nothing comes easy for this confusing bunch.
DROP THE JEKYLL AND HYDE ROUTINE
The Browns are an appropriate opponent for Dallas as they simply are quite beatable. Yet what makes them an ideal opponent is they are a nice blend of feisty, yet underwhelming which will help answer many questions about these mysterious Cowboys. Will the Cowboys prove they are focused and ready to make a serious campaign for the playoffs by notching a convincing win?
Or maybe the typical Cowboys bunch that plays sloppy and down to lessor opponents will make another unwelcome appearance. Even worse, a floundering Dallas team could rear its ugly head and allow an over-matched team to slide into their house and steal a crucial victory from under their noses. Your guess is as good as mine, and the next guy’s is just as good as yours.
A focused, driven, and committed Cowboys squad should handle these Browns from start to finish. They likely won’t blow them out of the stadium as Cleveland has played several teams close. Four of their seven losses were by 7 points or less. However a more talented, focused Dallas bunch should be able to win on both sides of the ball and control the game throughout.
Will that be the capable Cowboys team that shows up this Sunday is the burning question, and Cowboys fans are dying to get some answers. For that matter, they deserve some concrete answers.
DEFEND THEIR OWN CASTLE
The Cleveland Browns provide the perfect opportunity for Dallas to develop their confidence and re-claim their swagger. The walls of the castle are now under attack and the circumstances are dire, what do they plan on doing about it?
Now is the time to establish a legitimate home field advantage as the next 3 battles all go down in Cowboys Stadium. So far, 2 big losses at the hands of legitimate NFC playoff contenders and a sloppy win doesn’t fit the description of home field advantage and defending their house.
These Cowboys need to show they are capable of stringing together back-to-back wins for a change, they have yet to do so all season. It’s no secret Dallas must mold several wins together, allowing no more than 2 losses in the last 7 games to have any realistic shot at the postseason. Even 2 losses may be 1 too many.
RE-ENERGIZE THE FAN-BASE
But most of all, the Cowboys must show their fans how bad they really want it. Even go so far as rewarding the resilient supporters for hanging tough while they flailed their way to a lousy 3-5 start.
Not many true blue fans gave up hope when things were at their worst. How about giving these fans something special to enjoy and dominate the over-matched Browns on the field with the sacred star in the middle?
While the Cowboys long to find their confidence this week, they should also strive to earn the confidence of their fans. The team is at fault for leaving their backers in limbo not knowing what to expect. Now is the time to let the fans know they are serious about making a run, and that it’s okay to stand up proud on the train with a sense of excitement and maybe even a tad bit of security.
I have a strong feeling this Cowboys squad is finally ready to take the next step and firmly re-engage in the NFC playoff race.
COWBOYS 23, BROWNS 13