What are the chances?
That’s what Dallas Cowboys fans are asking themselves these days, as the last four games of the season approach. What are the chances we make the playoffs? What are the chances we do anything when we make the playoffs? What are the chances we have the same coach next year?
The Cowboys and Coach Jason Garrett are really under the gun after the Thanksgiving Day debacle against the Bills last week.
But strangely enough, the Cowboys are sitting pretty. In any other season, in any other division, you have to say that six losses on your record gives you a borderline chance of making postseason. But here are the Cowboys at 6-6 and at the top of the NFC East.
It is an indication of how pitiful a division the NFC East has become. The other team that was supposed to contend for the title, the Eagles are playing even worse. They gifted the Cowboys by choking it up against putrid Miami on Sunday.
Not the Cowboys We Expected
Of course, this damned sure ain’t the team we were looking at in September. They were supposed to be sure-fire playoff material with a good shot at the Super Bowl.
I referred to the panicky overreaction that broke out earlier this year, when the Cowboys lost two in a row. But at the time, I believed the Cowboys would recover and cruise to a 12-win season.
Now, so deep into the campaign, maybe it is time to panic.
Dak Prescott sees it. “In a moment like this, I say, ‘hell with the talking. I’m going to do more. I’m going to work harder,’ ” he declared after last week’s loss to the Bills. And that was after defensive end Michael Bennett gave his teammates a fire-breathing pep talk.
Still, when you get down to it, as a division champ, the Cowboys could actually be hosting a much better team in the first round of the playoffs.
Where to Now?
We could roll out the chalkboard and stat sheet and tell you what the Cowboys need to do to close out the season. But we’re beyond that now. We know the talent this team possesses, and we know they can beat any team out there.
Here are the teams Dallas has lost to: Saints, Packers, Jets, Vikings, Patriots and Bills. Five of those were good teams, and four of the losses were less than a TD difference.
No excuses here, but flipping a couple of those scores would make Dallas look much more like the team we thought they could be. Eventually during the course of a season, you are going to have to beat teams that are as good or better.
And what about the head coach? I think we’re looking at making it to the NFC title game for Garett to have any hope of keeping his job. In fact, by the time you read this blog, he may have already been given his walking papers.
But something tells me that the Cowpokes are going to have to win out to be anywhere close to the mental frame of mind needed to attack the playoffs.
Yes, they could go 8-8, win the division and host a playoff game. But if it goes that way, it will be ugly. And changes will be made. On the good side, it will be easier to find tickets to Dallas Cowboys games.