Division Title Looks Within Reach Of The Dallas Cowboys

Dec 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins linebacker Perry Riley (56) pressures Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

In the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys had everything going their way at the beginning of the season. The Giants started 0-6, Michael Vick got injured, and RGIII wasn’t himself. But we know these Cowboys just can’t make it easy on themselves, right?

Half of the season is gone, and you can’t say with confidence that this is a better team than last year’s. It was supposed to be, but it isn’t. Not Bill Callahan’s Offense. Not Monte Kiffin’s Defense. Not $106 million-richer Tony Romo. Not even more-experienced Head Coach Jason Garret.

Now it’s the time of the year when people start counting W’s and looking at the remaining schedule in search for some insight into the future.

So, let’s play Nostradamus for a moment here.

The Dallas Cowboys have 5 Wins and 4 Losses. Logic dictates that they will lose at New Orleans and Chicago (as Jay Cutler seems to be playing in that game); and if Aaron Rodgers is back by December 15th, as expected, then the Cowboys should have another loss at home.

That’s three losses if you are counting, giving us a total of 7 in the year.

Which means that the frustratingly mediocre, but somehow spectacular Dallas Cowboys will have to win at New York Giants (not so easy as once seemed, but doable), against the Raiders at home and against the Eagles at home. As inconsistent as they have been this year, the Cowboys are a better team than the Giants, Raiders and Eagles.

Which leaves the Cowboys with an 8-7 record.

But there is still that December 22nd game left at Washington’s FedEx Field.

Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) catches a warmup pass before the game Minnesota Vikings at AT

Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) catches a warmup pass before the game Minnesota Vikings at AT

My original article would go on analyzing the Redskins remaining schedule to prove that the game in Washington would have been decisive in the hunt for the NFC East title. But then on Thursday, Adrian Peterson destroyed the Redskins D and suddenly it looks like the AT&T Stadium will see its first non-Superbowl playoffs game this January.

The Redskins are already 3-6 and they still have games against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and the 2012 NFC Champions’ San Francisco Forty Niners. That’s at least 8 losses, and even if they can beat the Cowboys at home, the Division record favors Dallas and that tiebreaker would be enough to handle the crown to Jason Garrett’s team.

The biggest threat now may come from Philadelphia, but they are 4-5 and still have games against Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago and a reinvigorated Vikings team. That’s a brutal schedule and even if they can somehow survive it, they would still have to beat the Cowboys in Dallas.

My point is that the playoffs are within reach of these Cowboys, all they have to do is to beat the Raiders at home in Thanksgiving; the 2-6 Giants at New Jersey; and the Eagles at Jerry’s Palace in the final game of the year.

If they can’t do that, then they have nothing to do in the playoffs. But for once, I’m optimist that this year we’ll see the Cowboys playing meaningful football in January.

Follow Luis on twitter @dominguez_luisf.

Topics: Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo

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  • SmartThinking

    This Dallas team has must-win games in New York, with Washington and Philadelphia. Two of these games, Washington and Philadelphia, must be decisive wins. Of the three, Washington is playing, by far, better football than anyone in the division right now, including Dallas. As I’ve said before, playing New York in The Meadowlands this year will be their Super Bowl and Dallas stands a very good chance of losing this game as the Giants continue to improve week by week. But, this is a must-win game for Dallas and it is very doable. Even the 4th quarter Dallas team that beat Minnesota can beat this New York team. Anything less will not. As for Washington, this is, possibly, the most critical game left on the Dallas schedule. The Dallas team that came within a point of beating Denver must show up and beat the Redskins by two or more touchdowns to be relevant in any playoff picture. As for Philadelphia and the last game, this, too, is critical. It’s the last game, the division will, no doubt, either be on the line or still in question and the Eagles, who have no hope of a playoff chance, would like nothing better than spoil it for Dallas. Every game this year, the coaches and fans have really not known which Cowboys team would show up to play — the Denver team or the Detroit team. Most of the players can probably affirm that statement as well. This season is far from over and everything to be decided is still in flux. Dallas had better start bringing their biggest, baddest ‘A’ game for these remaining contests, pray for no major injuries, and think seriously about shaping their division future or their division future will, very surely, come back, as we’ve seen before, and kick them right where it hurts the most.

    • TheJaikster

      Not sure how winning by a certain amount of points against a team is a playoff indicator. The Washington is by far the most important game remaining? Not sure about that, each week is the most important, starting with the Saints game…

      • SmartThinking

        If your team wants to go to the tournament, division wins trump all others the way this league is put together. If you want to go to the Show and be respected, you need wins by big margins. Dallas needs a division win by a big margin to gain the confidence they need to even think they can get past the first game of the post season. Any questions?

        • TheJaikster

          Not for you sir, if your gonna pick an important division game, wouldn’t you go with the one against second place Philly in week 17? Back to the drawing board…

          • SmartThinking

            The Cowboy’s two toughest division games remaining are, in my opinion, New York and Washington. Although history has proven me wrong twice, I believe Dallas will beat Philadelphia in the last game of this season. Why? Based in part by how Dallas has played the Eagles this year and last year, for the most part. And, I can’t see history repeating itself three times in a row. I also think New York and Washington will be harder opponents to beat — Washington for sure as they are getting their act together through the middle of this season so far, despite the recent loss to Minnesota. Of course, I, as well as everyone else at this juncture, am just speculating. As I’ve said repeatedly, it all depends on which Cowboys team show up to play that week.

  • Jd

    I’ve said it since the Kansas City game and I’ve been saying it ever since…. If Dallas runs the football, they can play with anyone. Asking Romo to throw the ball 40-50 times a game, with our inconsistent and erratic pass rush and suspect secondary, is insane. And if you look at the 7 remaining games we have, none of them can stop the run. And only Greenbay, with a healthy Rodgers & Breese is better through the air than us.
    We can talk about how this league is a qb to receiver game now, tell that to Seattle, sf, Kansas City, the Jets and Carolina. Absolutely, they all have by far superior defenses than ours. But they all run the football, which allows their defense to stay fresh. If Callahan just establishes the run game & keeps our offense on the field a few minutes more pre drive, we can win a lot of our remaining games. And it needs to start Sunday night. Run the ball, we win. Get into a shootout, we lose.

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