As we enter the last four weeks of the 2013 NFL Season, the playoff races are starting to come into focus. Joyfully, our Dallas Cowboys are still in the conversation – currently leading the NFC East and owning a sparkling 4-0 division record with division games remaining against the Washington Redskins (away) and the Philadelphia Eagles (home). Understanding the protracted playoff drought this Cowboys team has endured and the misery of coming oh so close two years in a row only to fall short, it is easy to understand Cowboys Nation starting to get excited. We’re a game above .500 for the first time all year finally achieving that with a modest two-game win streak and a fairly substantial second-half turnaround against the Raiders after being soundly out played most of the first half.
Don’t get me wrong. It matters to us Cowboys fans no matter what. The playoffs represent a level of respectability we have not enjoyed very often – completely virgin territory for some younger fans! And, it is nowhere near a sure thing at this stage. Lots of heavy lifting left to do. But, watching the Seattle Seahawks completely dismantle a good New Orleans Saints team Monday night, I’m not sure in the end it is going to matter. If the road to the NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII goes through Seattle, I don’t see how anyone beats this Seahawks team and their noisy, disruptive “12th Man”. This team is scary good.
The Seattle Seahawks even lost two cornerbacks out of their defensive secondary – one to injury (and possible suspension) and one to suspension for four games – and still managed to hold the high-powered Saints offense to an anemic 147 yards passing, by far Drew Brees’ worst outing of the season. This team is dominant and aggressive on defense challenging everything including the opposing team’s celebration after their only touchdown last night. On offense, the ‘Hawks as their rabid fan base refers to them basically fell into a player they expected to be a solid backup when they signed free agent quarterback Matt Flynn to a big contract in 2012. Current Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is no back up and he’s better than solid – he’s got the talent and demeanor to be a star. They are a balanced team with “beast mode” Marshawn Lynch anchoring the run game while Wilson pitches in with his own run threat and then just enough passing game between Golden Tate and the other receivers to make defenses pay when they focus too much on stopping the run.
Now, don’t accuse me of becoming a ‘Hawks fan – I’ll always be loyal to my Cowboys. But, I don’t hate Seattle. Not like the dripping-from-every-pore kind of hate I have for the New York Giants, Redskins, and Eagles. But, I am somewhat envious. This is a complete team. Reminds me a lot of the Cowboys teams of Jimmy Johnson in the 90s…before Jerry’s ego forced him to “agree to disagree” with what was without a doubt the best coach (and GM for that matter) Jerry Jones has ever hired. And, in today’s NFL, a team can look absolutely dominant one week and completely inept the next, so we can’t crown the Seahawks just yet. But, if the season were decided last night, the Seahawks looked unbeatable.
Let’s go Cowboys! Finish strong. Make the playoffs and then we’ll see what happens. No one gave the Giants much of a prayer going into a frigid Lambeau Field in the 2007 NFC Championship game and we all know what happened there, not to mention what happened in the Super Bowl after that (see “helmet catch”). It can happen and that is why they still play the games. Go Cowboys!