Sunday we saw the Dallas Cowboys pull out a close game against the Vikings. It was a refreshing change of pace for a team that has seemingly found a way to lose most their close games this season (the Cowboys are now 2-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less for 2013).
While a win is great, should we as fans actually applaud this effort? Good teams don’t play down to the level of their opponent, they consistently execute. So far, the 2013 Cowboys are only consistently frustrating. Can we expect this team to have a chance if they even get into the playoffs?
In a word: Yes. While the Cowboys have been frustrating to watch this year, when compared to other competitors around the league they don’t seem so bad.
The Seahawks, the team most commentators would consider the class of the NFC, barely pulled out a win today against the 0-7 Buccaneers. This follows up a Monday night game where they needed a last minute goal line stand to hold off the powerhouse St. Louis Rams (who had so little faith in their starting Quarterback for the game they put out a call to Wrangler ad-man Brett Favre).
Meanwhile, NFC South leading New Orleans (widespread #2 favorite in the NFC) lost to the underdog Jets. Drew Brees couldn’t put a game winning drive together when given two minutes and the ball at his 20 in the 4th quarter. How un-clutch.
In Maryland, the 4-3 Chargers were unable to convert a 1st and goal from the 1-yd line with 21 seconds to go against the 2-5 Redskins. They would go on to lose in overtime.
On Thursday the 6-2 Bengals (44-9 winners over the aforementioned NY Jets a week ago) lost to the 3-4 Dolphins on a bizarre overtime game-winning Safety.
All of these games are examples of good teams not playing up to their potential. It happens. The Cowboys are frustrating, but so is every other team in the NFL.
The saying “any given Sunday” seems cliche but it’s the truth. This isn’t College Football, at the end of the year a win against the Vikings is as valuable as a win against the Broncos. With the right game plan, there is enough talent on any NFL squad to give the opposing team problems.
The Cowboys, for all their ups and down so far this year, are still in position for the postseason. And while they have yet to win against an “elite” opponent (next week gives them a chance to change that) they have won all the games they’re supposed to win (those against sub-.500 competition).
More importantly they have been in contention during every game this year. While 2012 had disastrous games against the Seahawks and Bears, the 2013 Cowboys have had a chance to win going into the 4th quarter of every contest.
It would be nice if Dallas was dominating every game, but that’s an impossible task in today’s NFL. Every team has a weakness, every team can win (I still have faith, Jacksonville). Inconsistency seems to be the league standard at the moment. Let’s cut our team some slack and enjoy the ride.