Even with a big win on the road, the Dallas Cowboys have to feel dejected by not getting any help from other teams which will be needed down the stretch.
For the Dallas Cowboys, any good news is welcoming. Especially after their horrific November. Winning a second game in a row, in blowout fashion no less, has to feel good.
Doing so over divisional foes is always a touch sweeter.
After three weeks of games where Dallas could only muster single digit scoring, back-to-back 30+ point weeks feels a lot more normal for this team.
Unfortunately, so does the nail biting that comes with depending on others for a possible playoff spot.
While it is nice to dispatch the Washington’s and New York’s of the football world, a few other teams need to experience failure for any of it to matter.
This past Sunday was not such a good day for that.
Every team that the Dallas Cowboys needed to lose, except the Seattle Seahawks, won. That is especially unhelpful when there is less than three weeks left.
Not only is time a factor, but so is positioning. Unfortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, there are five teams ahead of them. With five teams and just two spots, the margin of error is razor thin.
Before we get into the logistics of who and what to root for as we head into Week 15, let’s rejoice in the victory that was on Sunday.
In a reversal of fortunes, the Cowboys did not play well in the first half only to fall asleep at halftime. This particular game was tight until the middle of the fourth quarter.
Depending on how to choose to look at that, you can either be happy that the defense is starting to look a little better or you can show concern for the offense. Maybe you even do both and cover all your bases.
While it was not ideal to be in a 10-10 deadlock against a 2-10 team, at least the Cowboys were able to pull away. How they did so may be more impressive than the actual doing so part.
For one game, at least, all the guys this team needs to step up did just that. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten both found the end zone. Cole Beasley made some big time catches to extend drives and Dak Prescott finally was Dak Prescott again.
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After a month of really questionable outings, Prescott finally had a great day. Completing 20 of 30 passes for 332
with three touchdowns and no interceptions, the Cowboys quarterback did what is expected. He led this team to a victory and was a prominent reason for said victory.
Last week felt like Washington was disinterested in winning. On Sunday, New York certainly gave it their best shot.
Dak’s run of inaccurate days came to an end at Met Life Stadium. Not only did he make a lot of good throws, he also put this team in positions of advantage by reading the defense well and making the correct audibles.
No better example of that was on display than his 81 yard touchdown to Rod Smith. Noticing the defense was man-to-man with no safety help, Prescott put Smith into the slot. This move forced a linebacker not known for coverage into a predicament.
81 yards later, the Cowboys put the nail in the Giants coffin.
Dallas will need this type of play from Prescott to continue as they have to run the table in order to even consider January football. As previously stated, that may not be enough however.
As it currently stands, Carolina (9-4) and Atlanta (8-5) are your NFC Wild Card teams. Seattle, also 8-5, leads the group Dallas is in, known as “in the hunt.”
That group also includes Detroit and Green Bay, both 7-6.
For the Cowboys to make the playoffs, they first need to finish at 10-6. From there, they need Green Bay and Detroit to both lose a game. Lastly, Atlanta has to lose twice. Seattle losing one is a given since they play Dallas in Week 16. Carolina, with Sunday’s victory over the Vikings and their schedule, is out of reach for Dallas as well.
Looking at those teams remaining schedules, there are absolutely viable opportunities for all of this to occur.
Green Bay finishes the season at Carolina, home against Minnesota and at Detroit. Even if Aaron Rodgers comes back, I would expect at least one loss there.
Detroit is home versus Chicago next week before they hit the road at Cincinnati, ending up at home versus Green Bay. If Rodgers does come back, I would bet the farm the Packers win that game.
Seattle has that date with an Ezekiel Elliott-led Cowboys team two weeks from now. In between the Rams and Cardinals visit. The one loss Dallas needs from Seattle could come a week before they even play.
As for Atlanta, they have road games at Tampa Bay and at New Orleans before they finish at home versus Carolina. Since both New Orleans and Carolina are fighting for the division in addition to a playoff spot, both games should be difficult for the Falcons.
Of course, it all does not matter if Dallas has just one slip up. Fortunately, it appears the defense is starting to figure things out. If Prescott can find his 2016 form, the odds are good that Dallas will win out. The question will be if everyone else can lend a helping hand too.