Despite miscues, the Dallas Cowboys are still a formidable team

Nfl Dallas Cowboys At Tennessee Titans
Nfl Dallas Cowboys At Tennessee Titans /

Carrying a 12-4 record with the slim possibility to still win the NFC East and even maybe secure the #1 seed in the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys sit in a surprising position, all things considered.  Based on how the season started, they were not expected to be in this position by even some of the more optimistic fans.

If the Cowboys beat the Washington Commanders on Sunday, they can repeat as NFC East champions if the New York Giants manage an upset over those annoying Philadelphia Eagles. And is the Arizona Cardinals upset the heavily favorited San Francisco 49ers, then the Dallas Cowboys would capture that elusive #1 NFC seed.

Of course, those are too many “what if scenarios” for the Dallas Cowboys to realistically overcome, and the odds are in favor of the Eagles and 49ers to win their games. In a strange way, the Cowboys need to be in a position to have something to play for because it allows them to continue to work out all of those pesky miscues that still pops up like a pimple. In other words, the last thing the Cowboys need is a day off at the office.

Despite the miscues on offense and other issues on defense, the Dallas Cowboys still remain a dangerous team heading into the playoffs.

The Dallas Cowboys drive their fan base crazy with their Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality each and every Sunday.  Whether it is playing down to the competition (Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans) or upsetting its competition badly (Minnesota Vikings), this Dallas team is still a formidable foe heading into the playoffs.

This is not a rose glasses take, but more of the blunt truth of a team that can make a ton of mistakes in a game like it is a practice session, only to overcome those mistakes with ease and still win the game! My Gawd! Let me be clear, I am not suggesting this is the way to go for this team to play moving forward because it is a dangerous way to play and lose in the playoffs. My take is more of a team that has the talent to overcome its own self-inflicted wounds and still be victorious.

Since Dak Prescott returned from his thumb injury, Dallas has an 8-2 record, has averaged over 30 points a game, second in the league in points scored (461 points), the defense leads the league in takeaways (30), and is third in sacks (49).

With Dak winning those eight games, we saw how Dak uncharacteristically turned the ball over by his own admission of being too greedy. Whenever Dak made a mistake, all he did was go back down the field and score more points. The best example of this happening was against the Chicago Bears when Dak threw an interception and the Bears cut the lead down to one touchdown.

We all saw how Dak led the offense on several scoring drives to blow out the Bears (49-29) with ease. The same scenario happened in the other games, most recently in the Eagles and Titans games. We saw Gardner Minshew have a career day against Dallas’ defense, but the defense forced four takeaways and the offense put the points on the board despite Dak’s interceptions.

When it comes to Dak’s 14 interceptions (tied for first in the NFL), only half of them have been have been categorized as interception-worthy passes by Pro Football Focus. PFF loves to throw shade at Dak and even they say seven of them are not his fault. Let that sink in

Yet, Dallas never falters or fall behind because of these mistakes, except in the losses to the Green Bay Packers and Jags.

Out of Dallas’ four losses, losing to the Packers and Jags in overtime hurt more than any other loss this season. And it is in how they lost those winnable games against inferior competition. It was the only time this season Dallas had at least a double-digit lead only to see it disappear and become a loss.

For the first time in franchise history, Dallas had never lost a game with a two-touchdown lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Even in those dramatic losses, Dallas had the opportunity to win because they put themselves in a position to win. In the Packers game, Dak had already thrown two interceptions, yet Dallas was up two scores and was in a position to blow out the Packers. How many teams in the NFL can play like this and still win on a consistent basis?

Actually, how many teams in the NFC can play like this and still win on a consistent basis? I will patiently wait for your reply. It must be noted that these mistakes are a product of bad luck more than poor play from professional athletes. Furthermore, these hardened and disappointing loses are shaping Dallas as a tough team that will know how to win in the playoffs.

For every forced interception from Dak or tip balled from a receiver, there is an outstanding catch for a touchdown, a clutch reception for a first down (T.Y. Hilton 3rd and 30 first down) and a game-winning drive to erase those mistakes.

What really makes Dallas a formidable team is how this offense can score so many points despite the offensive line ranking in the bottom in PBWR (pass block win rate) and in wide receiver creating separation. That is not supposed to be happening and is an oxymoron for most teams. So, explain how can an offense operate at such a prominent level with two glaring issues?

Glad you asked because that is Dak taking this offense and putting it on his back to succeed. Besides CeeDee Lamb emerging as a true WR#1 and Dalton Schultz, Dak does not have another sure-fire receiver to lean on. This is Dak constantly bailing out Kellen Moore for keeping this offense in third and long-another reason Dallas leads the league in converting third downs.

If Tony Pollard is featured more in the passing game, then Dallas’ offense can truly be unstoppable in the playoffs. Just a matter of making it happen.

Fun fact: Dallas’ offense has not scored fewer than 24 points since Dak’s return against the Lions in week 7. Has scored 30 plus points five times, 40 points three times, and 50 points once.

In conclusion,

As of right now, the Dallas Cowboys are the fifth seed in the playoffs and are the most dangerous team because of their prolific offense and their opportunistic defense. I understand the pass rush has not been as dominant, but the “War Daddies” are still capable of getting to the quarterback-just a matter of adjusting and returning to form.

The same goes for the offense and the untimely interceptions, a correctable element. The elimination of turnovers and the return of sacks/pressures from the front four and this team is hard to beat.

The best version of this team is the one that beat the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts, and the one I expect to see in the playoffs. Dallas has faced most of the teams in the playoffs already (could face the Packers or Lions, too) except the 49ers. Meaning there is familiarity if they happen to play again.

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Unlike other teams that are getting hot at the right time just to make the playoffs and have an early exit, the Dallas Cowboys have been a hot team since Dak’s return and just need a minor tune-up to reach its peak-something it has not happened yet.

No other team has faced the adversity like this team and still succeeded with 12 wins and on the verge of winning 13 altogether. And that is why the Dallas Cowboys are a formidable team heading into the playoffs.

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