A lot of people associated with the Dallas Cowboys were bouncing off the walls in excitement when they witnessed their beloved team beat the NFC’s best, New Orleans Saints. They all watched their better than advertised defense shut down the NFL’s best offense, holding them to their lowest offensive output all season.
I am not going to lie, the Cowboys were impressive. I watched Leighton Vander Esch become a household name overnight, and Jaylen Smith showed the world he is back to form, maybe even better than he was before his horrific knee injury while at Notre Dame. For all the slack I have given Jerry Jones for his decision making while drafting, he has for now built a formidable defense that cannot be ignored. It made me regret my prediction last week that the Cowboys will once again collapse and ruin their chances of obtaining a playoff spot.
That regret was short-lived, and though the Cowboys looked good, I still have no faith in them winning the NFC East. In actuality, I have more faith in the fact that Dallas will find a way to play them themselves out of a playoff spot.
I am doubling down on my prediction. Below are my thoughts and reasonings to why I still stand behind my convictions and why I think in the end, the Cowboys will miss the playoffs.
We saw a mediocre team Thursday night that played like they were in a Super Bowl.
In my experience, I always side on the air of caution when I witness David going up against Goliath and David plays like he is in the Super Bowl, especially when David is playing at home. I value the eye test a lot, but football is a game of emotion, and that emotion can play a lot into a team’s success. Dallas was the underdog, was given no chance by many to win, and they used that to catapult their team to play the best of their ability. Every person that played a part in that game knew they had a great platform to prove to the nation they are for real.
But what happens when they play a game where that emotion, that factor that motivates a team to do their best is not there?
Teams across the league have had major, disappointing hangovers the week after an important, emotional win. The Jaguars and Titans went into their games against the Patriots with massive chips on their shoulders and wanted something to prove. Both teams went on to have a massive hangover and lost their next game following the win over the Patriots.
Jacksonville went 2-8 in their next 10 games following their convincing victory over New England. Pittsburgh came back in dramatic fashion in an emotion-filled rematch from last year’s playoffs against the Jags. They dropped the next two. Cleveland beat up their former head coach in their matchup against Cincinnati and followed it up with a horrific display against the Texans.
Dallas has to follow up their big win against the Eagles at home. A huge game in the grand scheme of things against the defending champions. I will be interested to see if the Cowboys come out hungover in a game where a victory all but clinches the NFC East. I tend to tread on the side of history here, where the Cowboys are never good in these types of games under Jason Garrett and honestly think the Eagles come out victorious in a big way.
The Cowboy’s head coach is Jason Garrett.
Speaking of Jason Garrett
Jason Garrett has done nothing to prove to me he can win in the big games consistently. He is clearly riding the coat-tails of the talent that takes the field every Sunday, and I seriously believe he has little to nothing to do with this massive turn around in Big D.
That feeling I think was proven on the field last Thursday night. In a big drive, the Cowboys were about to march into the end zone for a possible game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter, or at the very least, put up three points to make the Saints score a touchdown for the win. On the six-yard line, Garrett and his staff call for a pass on third and five with the second best running back in the backfield and relied on their offensive line to hold up a pass rush that already sacked Prescott six times up to that point.
That was shocking to me. The Saints only had one timeout at that point and a run that didn’t even get the first down, put pressure on the Saints to make a decision on time management. Yes, Garrett got bailed out by his defense, but he ultimately gave Drew Brees a shot at a comeback, which is not a sound strategy when you look at it. I do not believe in Garrett’s ability to coach when it matters, he has never shown it on a consistent basis in years past and will once again show it when it matters the most.
This point was backed up by many people I know who are Dallas fans, but hate Jason Garrett. Even in this stretch of success they still want him out of Dallas. It makes me wonder if the only way to save his job in the eyes of the fans is a Super Bowl victory.
Dak Prescott and his:
Let’s hope Prescott bought Jourdan Lewis dinner this entire week, because he saved Prescott big time. Soon after Dak coughed up the ball and gave the Saints another chance at the win, Lewis picks off Brees and sealed the victory.
Overall, Prescott made some really impressive plays that kept their lead intact, but when it mattered the most, he could not protect the ball and gave it back to the hands of the most dangerous player in the NFL. This isn’t a fluke either. So far, Prescott has let the ball go a total of eleven times this season. This is unacceptable.
Behind Garrett, Prescott is the biggest liability to the chances of the Cowboys winning the NFC East. Prescott has slowly regressed since bursting onto the scene two years ago and really has been treading water this season with the help of a dynamic running game. Prescott’s numbers show he is a game manager at best (20th in attempts, 19th in yards and 23rd in TD’s), but with his history of putting the ball on the ground (24 times in his career), it gives his opponent an open door to turn the course of the game, which is the total opposite of an effective game manager.
Now I totally understand the likelihood of what I am saying to come true is slim to none. That one win against the Saints puts the Cowboys in the driver’s seat and they really control all the momentum. But my father taught me about history, and how it always repeats itself even in the most untimely of moments. So yes, the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat, but if history has taught me anything, for me to be right, that is exactly where I want them to be.