Going for another ride on the Dallas Cowboys roller coaster

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

In must-win mode since the start of the month, the Dallas Cowboys (with some help) are one win away from an improbable playoff berth.

We all really should have known better. No matter what changes for the Dallas Cowboys, the “D” in “Big D” is always drama.

Three weeks ago to the day, the Dallas Cowboys were 3-9, coming off of back-to-back blowout losses with less than a 1% chance of making the playoffs. This Sunday, they may be playing for their 26th NFC East division title.

Obviously, a myriad of factors has gone their way, not the least of which being their high-powered offense. After mustering just 33 total points against Washington and Baltimore, the Cowboys have 108 in the last three weeks.

Of course, earlier in the season, the Dallas Cowboys scored with the same veracity. The unfortunate matter was that their defense gave up points just as easily. This has not been the case over the last three weeks, with the exception of a 41-33 shootout with San Francisco.

So here are the Dallas Cowboys, on the verge of one of the most improbable playoff berths in NFL history, heading to New York but still in need of help. Just another ride on the roller coaster that is being a fan of this organization.

Help does not seem all that farfetched of a concept given the teams involved in which help is necessary. Philadelphia, losers of six of their last seven are eliminated, however, Dallas needs them to beat Washington. Given that their one win was against New Orleans, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

The Giants, meanwhile, have lost three straight. The Cowboys are obviously hoping to extend that streak to four to keep their own season alive. Lastly, Washington has lost two straight and is dealing with multiple issues, largely surrounding their quarterback position.

Uncertainty involving the quarterback position is another reason the Cowboys even have a shot at the postseason. In the month of December alone, every other NFC East foe has started multiple quarterbacks.

Philadelphia made the change from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts due to Wentz’s inefficiency. The Giants have seen Colt McCoy throw more passes than Daniel Jones due to lingering injuries to their starter.

Washington, meanwhile, has had three different quarterbacks throw passes this month and is currently unsure as to who will do so in their crucial Week 17 matchup between Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke. The only thing they do know is that it will not ever again be Dwayne Haskins as he was cut Monday morning.

The Dallas Cowboys definitely know who will be their main man against New York. Andy Dalton has been very impressive over the past few weeks. Posting a quarterback rating of 116.9 with seven touchdowns and just one interception, Dalton is starting to make all the right plays at just the right time.

Of course, it would be very much like this team and organization to pull a Lucy on its fans and move the football just as the fan base is ready to kick it.

Maybe the Dallas Cowboys win, but so does Washington, and all this winning would be for naught. All that they would have to show for it is some good feeling on how the season ended and a worse draft selection.

Maybe they lose and the result of the contest between Philadelphia and Washington is insignificant. Again, all this team would have to show for such a scenario is a worse draft selection than they were looking at three weeks ago.

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Either way, the Dallas Cowboys roller coaster is nearing its crescendo. Is there one more flip left on this ride or is the car coming into the station for good? We will all find out in just five short days.