The Dallas Cowboys are a team that has been ailing from multiple problems this season. Few turnovers forced, erratic quarterback play, and inconsistent play by key players are a few of the many ailments that needed fixing. Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles the Cowboys got some medicine they sorely needed. All three aspects of the game went Dallas’ way and now confidence is back in their corner. The key to making last week not seem like a blip on the radar is for Dallas to turn this one good win into a string of quality victories. If that can be done, Dallas will be right back in the thick of things in the NFC playoff race.
Remaining games on the schedule: home against Cleveland, Washington, and Philadelphia, at Cincinnati, then home for Pittsburg and New Orleans, and finally finishing the season at Washington. Excuse my brashness, but every one of those games are winnable with a team like Dallas that is littered with top-tier talent. Considering the momentum they could establish in the next two weeks if they beat a struggling Browns and Redskins squads, the playoffs are a real possibility. Who would have thought that after the nasty, inconsistent season Dallas has had to date?
Of course none of this matters if the Cowboys rest on their laurels and don’t build on what they’ve done recently. That’s one of the beautiful, and painful things about the NFL. One week your team can be on top of the world and the next they are getting beat by an opponent that was suppose to never have stood a chance. Take last week’s contest between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta was undefeated and New Orleans was still trying to get back on track after a 0-4 start. Now the Saints are trending up and, like the Cowboys, in the conversation of potential playoff teams.
So what needs to happen to make this a reality? Can the Cowboys really dig out of this hole and make the playoffs?
First off, the defense and special teams need to continue to play how they did last week in Philadelphia. The smash-mouth performance they showed against the Eagles is the kind of result you would expect on a weekly basis from a unit as talented as Dallas has. Keep that style of play up, and the sky’s the limit.
Secondly, Tony Romo needs to have games like he has had the last two weeks. No turnovers, finding open receivers, and clock management are key. If Dallas gets gun-slinger Romo, you might as well cash it in and start planning for free agency and the draft. The real test will come when December rolls around. Romo is historically very good in November, but struggles in December. If he can continue to play well deep into December, Dallas may just have a shot at this thing.
Third and final, the role-players need to play their roles, and play them well. Offensive line, defensive line, backups are all on the hot seat. This is not the time for any of these units to regress. Injuries are going to happen and how Dallas and their backups respond will be crucial down the stretch. Along the same lines, games in late-November and December are won in the trenches. Establish yourself here and everyone else behind the trenches will be more effective.
The season is not lost yet Cowboys Nation. There is still plenty to cheer for. So put on that star and show the world that we’re not going to give up on this team yet.