Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader performs during a timeout in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a tough time to be a Dallas sportswriter. Heck, it’s a tough time to be a Dallas sports fan! All four major DFW teams run the very realistic risk of missing the playoffs. That’s right. All four teams! That’s not to say it’s going to happen. At this point it could really fall either way for a couple teams. But it’s going to come down to the wire for all of them.
The Cowboys have missed the playoffs the past three seasons amassing an uninspiring record of 24-24 in that time. What have they done so far this offseason? Basically flush the toilet on their defensive line that’s all.
It’s not like it was an All-Star collection of young talent or anything. The DL was old, injured, and expensive. The defense as a whole finished as one of the worst in the league…all time. The team is attempting to rebuild its roster without fully committing to rebuild.
So far so good. The Cowboys are making positive steps to correcting their issues but they appear like they will need to take a step back before they can take a step forward. The Cowboys are the DFW team MOST likely to MISS the playoffs in 2014. Even with expanded playoffs and playing in the worst division in the NFL.
Mar 25, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) guard Vince Carter (25) guard Jose Calderon (8) and guard Monta Ellis (11) smiles after a timeout is called in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
With a big win against the Thunder Tuesday night, the Mavs are holding it down. They currently have the 8th and final playoff spot. On their heels are the Phoenix Suns who occupy the 9th spot just out of the playoffs.
10 games remain and the Mavericks don’t have a cakewalk in front of them. They still face San Antonio, Golden State, LA Clippers 2x, and the Suns. The Mavs are a veteran team that knows how to win big games. Every remaining game is big at this point. They must find a way to secure victories without wearing out their elder statesmen. Of all the DFW teams, the Mavs have the best chance at making the playoffs. They are in 8th place now so keeping the current pace should theoretically get it done.
Great things are happening for the Stars. Jim Nill came to Dallas from Detroit in the offseason and brought with him a new winning culture that had been missing for some time. He hired head coach Lindy Ruff and made some bold trades reshaping the roster.
Mar 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
It’s hard for Stars fans to be dissatisfied with the direction this club is heading. The team is younger, more talented, and well organized. Yet they find themselves in a very familiar spot once again. The Stars sit outside of the playoffs with only 10 games to play. Who must they pass in the playoff race? Phoenix of course.
The Stars and Coyotes are in the same position as the Mavericks and Suns, only in this case – Phoenix has the advantage. The Stars play the Coyotes the last game of the season so much like the Mavs, this may come down to the end. The Stars have a chance but odds say they just miss the playoffs again. My extremely unscientific odds: 40% chance to make the Playoffs.
It has been Murphy’s Law for much of this offseason for the Texas Rangers. The lineup looks improved on paper but that doesn’t matter much if there are no healthy players left.
Mar 22, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers infielderRonald Guzman
(73) is unable to track down a blooper in foul territory against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. The Royals won 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Yu Darvish is banged up and will start the season on the DL. Colby Lewis is old and trying to stage a comeback with a partially-fake hip. Derek Holland is out until after the all-star break at best. Matt Harrison is coming back from multiple back surgeries and is on the DL. The list really goes on. There are so many concerns about the starting lineup, the Rangers had to steal from the bullpen. Now the Bullpen is a troubling situation too.
The field is also troublesome. Catcher Geovany Soto is out 10 weeks. 2B Jurickson Profar is out 10 weeks. Engle Beltre is on the DL, Adrian Beltre is always nursing something in the upper-leg region. Numerous other players are all nursing injury.
Combine this with the improvement of division rivals Angels, A’s and even the Mariners. The Rangers face a tough road ahead of them in 2014.
Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson