Three Years In a Row, Dallas Cowboys Finale Is All or Nothing

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Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kyle Orton (18) drops back to pass in the first quarter of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Miami Dolphins at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kyle Orton (18) drops back to pass in the first quarter of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Miami Dolphins at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Garrett’s first full year as Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys the team made it to the final game of the season with everything riding on it. It was 2011, and the Cowboys were 8-7. The season finale was against the New York Giants, who were favored. The winner of that game was going to win the NFC East and make it to the playoffs, the loser was going home. The game was on New Year’s Day and the game was flexed to be the season finale for Sunday Night Football. Dallas lost, and went home and to the golf courses, vowing to be back.

Last year the same thing happened in so many ways. The Cowboys were this time facing the Washington Redskins, who were favored, but they were 8-7, just like the year before, and the game was flexed to the Sunday Night Football season finale. The winner was going to win the NFC East and go on to the playoffs, and the loser was going home. Not much changed other than the date of the game as it was on the 30th of December instead of the holiday. Once again, Dallas lost, went home and to the golf courses, and vowed to be back.

It is 2013 and the Cowboys are back. They are 8-7 again. The winner of this game, against the favored Philadelphia Eagles, wins the NFC East and goes on to the playoffs. The loser goes home and to the golf courses. The game has been flexed to be the season finale of Sunday Night Football for the third season in a row. Is it deja vu all over again? Have things changed?

Some things have changed for this game. Maybe they will make a difference, maybe they won’t change the outcome at all. From a cursory glance nothing has changed except the calendar date of the games. Dallas is once again coming into the game at 8-7 in a winner take all scenario for a game flexed to be the season finale of Sunday Night Football. They’ve lost both times in the past. Is the only difference in this game the fact that Dallas is finishing the NFC East tour of season finales? No, unlike the last 2 years, this game is a home game for the Cowboys. Will that make a difference? I don’t know, and neither does anyone else, but it certainly bodes well for a better outcome.

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  • Marc

    Cowboys are done – Eagles 35 Dallas 10
    It is not the Eagles offense that will dominate, it will be the defense. Philly’s D is much better that the first game. They know how to bring the heat. All the D-coordinator does for the cowboys is watch the game like we do. It will be a simple plan = Blitz the He!! out of the immobile Kyle Orton game over in the first half.

  • SmartThinking

    It depends on which Philadelphia team shows up Sunday. If the Eagles team that gave away the Minnesota game comes in then Dallas has a “puncher’s chance,” as this story’s writer points out. If the Eagles team that crushed Chicago comes to play, all bets are off for Dallas. They just don’t have the firepower to compete with that team, unless …

    If the Dallas team that played Philadelphia in the first game comes to play, they can win. If the Cowboys team that gave away the Detroit or Green Bay games plays, it’s not going to be pretty or, last any longer than 60 minutes.

    Right now, I suspect several influential members of this Dallas team are seething and this team is girding itself for one more emotional performance. They’re playing this game for Romo and Lee. How many division championships can a team give away in the last game of the season?

    That’s a powerful incentive, wouldn’t you think?

    • tfs

      I think the team from the first game came to play for the most part. They put in an emotional performance. Sadly, it just wasn’t enough.

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