Dallas Cowboys must win at Superdome to make playoffs: True or False?


Well, there goes my 4-0 prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.

For 30 minutes last Sunday, I was right.

Then halftime happened. Then Julio Jones happened. Then the Cowboys offensive line turned into 2013. It turns out, I was absolutely wrong about the other 30 minutes of the game.

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The final score: Cowboys 28, Falcons 39.

Let’s get right into Week 4.

The Dallas Cowboys must win this game. It’s a game — whether quarterback Drew Brees plays or not — the Boys can win, should win, and must win to keep their lead in the NFC East division.

The Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) found a win. The New York Giants (1-2) found a win. And the Washington Redskins are still around at 1-2 also.

One plus for Dallas? The Cowboys own a better division record (2-0) and conference record (2-1) than their division competition. Dallas must tread water long enough until Tony Romo comes back.

But it won’t be easy after the New Orleans visit.

Sleepless in Dallas without Tony Romo?

Week 5 | Oct 11 | New England Patriots

Week 6 | Oct 18 | Bye Week

Week 7 | Oct 25 | @New York Giants

Week 8 | Nov 1 | Seattle Seahawks

Week 9 | Nov 8 | Philadelphia Eagles

Week 10 | Nov 15 | @Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dallas has to take the wins where they can take them. The Atlanta game was one opportunity that slipped. The Cowboys can’t walk into New Orleans and fall to a 2-2 record.

So, I’m calling this early Week 4 match a must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys. Sure, I get that it’s really early to suggest that the outcome of this game determines the whole entire season. I get that in any given week things can take a sudden turn in the NFL.

But if the Cowboys can’t sweep an ailing 0-3 New Orleans Saints team, then who can the Cowboys beat?The Saints haven’t won a game at the Superdome since October 26, 2014. It’s a six-game losing streak whooper that hasn’t happened in that neighborhood since 1980.

The Saints are in trouble. And if the Cowboys can’t pounce next Sunday night, put them in the trouble category too.

Random Thoughts:

• I think 3-1 sounds a whole lot better than 2-2. Look, the Cowboys are going to take licks while Romo is out. But they’ll have to win enough to give Romo any serviceable shot at the playoffs. That playoff road is kept alive with a win Sunday in New Orleans.

Oh, did I mention the Saints game is a must-win match?

• I still can’t figure out what happened to Dallas at halftime. While we aim at all the mistakes and failed adjustments the Cowboys made, I give full credit to the Atlanta Falcons for completely adjusting their game on all sides of the ball. The Falcons schemed. The Cowboys didn’t. And that was the difference maker.

• I don’t want to hit the Brandon Weeden bag. I’ll leave that to other writers and commentators. But here’s my take if you were wondering: I don’t think Brandon Weeden did a bad job. He did exactly what he was asked to do, minus the dumbest interception since his last dumbest interception.

Having said that, the Cowboys cannot win a lot of games if Weeden can’t cut loose. The Boys will play from behind, and those little dump offs, in combination with a lack of urgency, won’t do much to boost the team’s metabolism.

In my opinion, I could see quarterback Matt Cassel stepping in by Week 5 against his former team, the New England Patriots. Actually, I’d pay to see that.

• So running back Joseph Randle had a good game last Sunday, as I thought he would. Randle ran for 87 yards on 14 carries, with three scores. Did he leave some meat on the bone, in particular the second half?

No, no he didn’t. The Cowboys left meat on the bone, handing the ball to their mega yard producer only five times in the second half. Huh?

• I think DeMarco Murray… I’ll be nice today and stop there.

• On Twitter (follow me @Michael_Vu_) and through this site, I bragged that running back Lance Dunbar is doing a fine Dez Bryant impression. I’m not sure that’s a good thing to brag about anymore.

Dunbar is tied for first place with Jason Witten on the receptions list with 21 catches through three games. Dunbar leads all receivers in reception yards.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will have to change how the ball is spread around because this one-dimensional attack will be easy for defenses to shut down.

• I think you should Tweet me as soon as you spot these two players: Terrance Williams and Devin Street.

Next: Dallas Cowboys must rediscover Marinelli Magic