The Dallas Cowboys are riding a crippling 6-game winning streak that’s placed their margin for error at just above zero heading to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a game in a long, long time, at least by NFL regular season standards. A losing streak now at six games threatens to pretty much end the 2015 regular season before it’s even started.
By started, I refer mainly to quarterback Tony Romo, who hasn’t played a football game since September 20. That came on Week 2 against the same Philadelphia Eagles team that the Cowboys lost to last Sunday night in overtime.
When Weeden didn’t pan out, the team switched to Matt Cassel, the current starter acquired following Romo’s injury.
Along with quarterbacks, the running back position has finally taken shape with the release of airhead Joseph Randle and the additions of Christine Michael and Rod Smith backing up new starter Darren McFadden.
Despite all of that, Dallas simply can’t win a football game.
While this team has played much better football over the last couple of weeks, losing once in overtime despite the offense never touching the ball, and then at the buzzer against the Seattle Seahawks, it just has nothing to show for its efforts since Romo went down.
The reasons for this are many and I’m not going to rehash all of what we already know.
The only thing that matters now is winning games, period.
The Cowboys cannot go into Tampa, Florida this Sunday and lose to a Buccaneers team led by a rookie quarterback named Jameis Winston – I don’t care where Winston went to college or what he accomplished there. Frankly, I do wonder why there isn’t more said about his treatment of women back at Tallahassee since that’s such a hot topic of discussion lately surrounding the Cowboys.
Anyway, a rookie quarterback is a rookie quarterback, and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has to come up with a formula that helps this ailing defense come up with sacks and turnovers.
Ever since defensive end Greg Hardy arrived and led the way to 5.0 quarterback sacks of football deflator Tom Brady of the New England Patriots back on Week 5, Cowboys opponents have made it a priority to get rid of the ball quickly and patiently run the football as much as possible. You can do that when your opponent is led by a backup quarterback and isn’t likely to score more than 20-points in any given game.
In fact, it hasn’t mattered if Dallas scored more than 20 points, as they’ve managed to lose four games this season while scoring 20 points or more.
The season is halfway over for the Cowboys, and even if they could reverse their first half record to 6-2, that’s still just a record of 8-8 – that sound familiar to anybody? Prior to last season’s out-of-nowhere 12-4 explosion into the NFC postseason, that’s about all Cowboys Nation has seen from a Dallas team led by head coach Jason Garrett – I still don’t understand exactly what this guy does, aside from speak to the media and take roll call at Valley Ranch a few times per week.
Can the Cowboys go 7-1 in the second half?
Probably not possible with a loss to the 3-5 Buccaneers on Sunday.
Remember that NFC powers like the undefeated Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers still loom on the schedule over the next month, and we know how games at Lambeau Field generally go for the Cowboys. Dallas has on ewin at that stadium – ever.
Dallas could actually win out and would still finish just 10-6, a record that sometimes doesn’t even qualify for a Wild Card berth in the NFC playoffs.
Having said that, 10-6 would almost certainly win the average NFC East, but anything less than 9-7 is likely to become a season killer for the Cowboys.
The best way to avoid that scenario is beat Tampa Bay at all costs. If that means flea-flickers, halfback passes – McFadden can do that – or surprise onside kicks, so be it. Sunday’s game is essentially an early playoff game for the Cowboys and it needs to a game-planned accordingly.