Dallas Cowboys: Midseason predictions and playoff cautionary tales
By Richard Ball
The Dallas Cowboys have just finished their bye week and sit with a 4-3 record. Will the team run the second half gauntlet and make the playoffs?
While it might not be the moment you starred on your calendar, I thought I would follow my prognostication success from last season when I correctly guessed the Dallas Cowboys 10-6 record when they were 3-4 at the bye week. I went 5-4 with my game by game predictions so I wouldn’t go to Vegas just yet.
Dallas has nine games left in the 2019 season with five on the road. The first seven opponents had a combined 0.407 winning percentage and the remaining nine opponents have a combined 0.543 winning percentage. It’s safe to say that the schedule gets harder from this point forward.
The next game on the schedule is a trip to New Jersey to play the NFC East rival New York Giants. The Cowboys have won five in a row against their long-time rivals including a Week One 35-17 beat down at AT&T Stadium.
This game will have a new wrinkle with Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones making his first start against the Cowboys. This will be the first time Dallas will face a Big Blue starting quarterback other than Eli Manning since Week Five of the 2004 season when Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner led the G-Men to a 26-10 win in Dallas
While Jones provided a spark winning his first two starts, the Giants are currently enjoying a four-game losing streak. A Cowboys win would make it very difficult for the G-Men to have any hope to contend for the division championship.
If the Cowboys defensive line, which has been average this year against the run and pass, can take advantage of an equally average Giants offensive line a win is almost certain. The Cowboys offense which ranks first in yards per game should find their rhythm against a Giants defense that ranks 28th in yards allowed per game.
It doesn’t matter what the records are when NFC East division rivals play but I don’t foresee a case, other than multiple Cowboys injuries, where Dallas loses this game. The defense will want to showcase their newly acquired lineman, Michael Bennett, which should allow ends Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence to pressure Jones on passing downs.
The game will be closer than it should be but Dallas will reach the halfway point of their season with a 5-3 record. The win will also make the NFC East a two-team race between the Eagles and Cowboys.