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.
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.