A Cowboys Thanksgiving Day win will turn the national tide


With a Dallas Cowboys win on Thanksgiving Day, America’s Team can turn the national tide concerning their future playoff hopes.

The 3-7 Dallas Cowboys have everything to gain this Thursday. And their opponents during their annual Thanksgiving Day matchup, the undefeated 10-0 Carolina Panthers, have everything to lose.

With a win, the Cowboys turn the tide of national opinion concerning their playoff chances and make them reality. If Dallas loses, nothing really changes as most seem to figure they are the lesser team anyway.

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With a Panthers win, they simply continue their recent dominance. But if they lose, it could be the slightest crack that eventually shatters their season. Bottom line is Carolina has little to gain in a victory over Dallas. But the Cowboys have everything to gain…namely, respect.

After a seven-game losing streak, the Cowboys talent-level has been severally misjudged by most of the national media for the past two months. And it was certainly unfair criticism, as every NFL team would falter with their two best players sidelined for any extended amount of time. Now that nearly all of the key members of America’s Team have returned, it’s time to prove those critics, and the nation, wrong.

The Cowboys can go a long way in doing just that by beating an undefeated team on a four-day turnaround in front of a national audience this Thursday. It could be the ultimate coming out party for what this franchise should have been all year: a Super Bowl contender.

"“Romo is back and it changed plenty. Even on a day where he was clearly rusty and not up to full speed, he won his 11th regular season road game in a row,” wrote the Dallas Morning News’ Bob Sturm on Monday. “His value cannot be understated and now they must capitalize on the situation by punching the best team in the NFC right in the face on Thursday. If they can figure out how to beat the Panthers while the whole NFL is watching, they will get everyone’s attention. If they can, you won’t believe how much Cowboys optimism will be served with the Turkey on Thanksgiving evening.”"

It’s true. Fan hype will be at an all-time high if the Cowboys can pull off a victory over the Panthers. And those that balk at the idea just need to look at last year’s standings as the best reference point of that possibility.

In 2014, this Cowboys team finished the regular season  12-4, were undefeated on the road, and won their first playoff game since 2007. They were one bad call away from making the NFC Championship game. And two wins away from the Super Bowl.

The Panthers finished the season 7-8-1. (yes, there are still ties in the NFL) And they still got into the playoffs due to their terrible division. In fact, if you include the tie as a loss, Carolina had their own seven-game losing streak mid-year in 2014. And they still made the postseason!

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Now, it seems the tables have turned. Carolina is cruising through the year just like the Cowboys did last season. And Dallas is the one struggling after a long losing streak with their playoff hopes still alive due to a weak division.

But before we start talking postseason, Dallas’ next step is simply to tame the Panthers in three days. If they can do that, there will likely be a tsunami wave of fan hype to ride through the coming weeks.