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Week Sixteen Reactions-What Are the Chances? (1/2)

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  1. Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) scores a touchdown as Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (23) defends during the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Cowboys’ Will Play Once Again for All-Or-None Week 17 Game
    In a must-win situation, the Cowboys and Tony Romo especially pulled off the improbable and pulled off a last-minute comeback win as Romo and RB DeMarco Murray hooked up for the 10-yard game winner with 1:08 left on the clock. After such games where Romo has been the opposite of clutch, in week 16 Romo showed that December doesn’t have to mean last second interceptions or fumbles for the Cowboys. As Romo and the Cowboys went into FedEx Field last Sunday, they knew that they would be playing for more than just inter-division supremacy, they would be playing for the opportunity to go to their first playoff game since 2009 when the Cowboys went 11-5. As of this moment the Cowboys are 8-7 with a chance to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in week 17 and go to the playoffs as the probable 4th seed in the NFC. But the main thing isn’t about where the Cowboys will go, but how they got here in the first place. As is always with the Cowboys and Tony Romo especially, Dallas makes every season interesting. With the exception of one win, the ‘Boys have played similarly to this season’s Jets. In a nutshell they’ve played consistently inconsistent. This entire season Dallas has managed only a two-game winning streak, every time they would win a game, they would lose the next game, every time they would win two games, they’d somehow find a way to lose the next two games. Although some blame can be put on Tony Romo and Jason Garret, the majority of the blame goes on Dallas’ historically bad defense. This season Dallas has allowed the 2nd-most passing yards (290.7 yards per game) and 6th-most rushing yards per game (127.9 yards per game) to go along with its’ awful 27.2 points per game allowed (ranked 25th in the league). The problem for the Cowboys hasn’t been getting points on the scoreboard-they’re tied for 3rd-best in the league in scoring with 27.8 points scored per game-but rather keeping points off the scoreboard. In 6 of Dallas’ 7 losses, the Cowboys’ defense has allowed 30 points or more, including 3 games of over 40 points to the Saints (49 points), Bears (45 points) and Broncos (51 points). Surprisingly enough, the Cowboys are 8-7 and competing for a playoff spot despite having one of the worst defenses in football (next to the Bears and Vikings). Thus, with that in mind was it any surprise that the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Sunday afternoon? Well in some ways yes, in others no. What did surprise me about that game was how Cousins and the Redskins didn’t scorch the Cowboys for more points than they did. I predicted the Sophomore QB to gain an easy 300+ and 3 TDs, but that was definitely not the case. The Cowboys pass defense held Cousins to just shy of 200 yards passing as Cousins threw for only 197 with an interception and just a 58.3% completion percentage (only the 2nd time all season that the Cowboys have limited an opposing QB to under 200 yards). What we saw from the Cowboys was definitely promising, they were able to hold the Redskins defense long enough for Romo and the offense to engineer a comeback. What are the chances that Dallas could’ve beaten the Skins? Well, pretty big actually seeing as though the Skins were just a measly 3-11 coming into the game. However, what are the chances that Dallas would be playing for the NFC title game Sunday Night on the last game of the season for the second year in a row? Very low. After losing to the Packers at home in pretty embarrassing fashion, the 7-7 Cowboys looked like they wouldn’t stand a chance against the 8-6 Eagles. Now, however after the Eagles tragically lost to the Vikings, the Cowboys are right in the thick of the playoff hunt. Chances are that next week in the NFC East title game the Cowboys could lose and yet again break every single fans heart like usual, but there is till that glimmer of hope that somehow, someway they will pull out an improbable win and take the NFC East. Based on their recent winning/losing streaks, the Cowboys won two straight games weeks 12-13 and then lost two straight games weeks 14-15, this week after winning at the Redskins, the Cowboys should win against the Eagles (key word being should). The Eagles running game with LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown is the most potent in the league right now, rushing for a league-best 161.9 yards per game this season. With the 27th ranked rush defense that has allowed 6 games of 140+ rushing yards to opposing backs, don’t be surprised if Shady McCoy and Brown run it up and down AT&T Stadium for an easy 100+. In the end I’m rooting for the Cowboys to pull it off (I’ve got 5 bucks riding on this game), but ultimately it will come down to the defenses. Can Dallas’ defense keep it close? Will Philly’s 30th ranked pass defense crumble under the pressure of Tony Romo and the 3rd-highest scoring offense in the league? I guess you’re just going to have to find out for yourself.  

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