Full disclosure – I hate the Dallas Cowboys.
In my mind they are on the same level as the Lakers and the Yankees. From owner to fans, I have no love and enjoy watching them lose.
And, the Cowboys did lose in an enjoyable way on Sunday 19-13 to the Atlanta Falcons.
They fought hard and gave the fans just enough hope to make it sweet when they lost it down the stretch.
With that being said, the Cowboys scare me. Sure they are 3-5, but look beyond the win-loss column and you’ll see the best losing team at the midway point of the season.
First, why is Dallas only 3-5?
The easy answer is Tony Romo. He has been the only constant with changes to wide receivers, coaches and offensive coordinators.
However, is it Romo’s fault that two of his receivers are in the top three of dropped balls (Dez Bryant and Jason Whiten)? Is it Romo’s fault that the coach can’t manage the clock or attempt a 54 yard field goal? Is it his fault that his teammates had another bad day with discipline (7 penalties total for 50 yards)? Or that there are injuries to key running back DeMarco Murray?
Nope… there is plenty of blame, gaps, and shortcomings the Cowboys have.
Those little things make the difference when you’re playing against evenly matched opponents. The key is the “evenly matched” opponent phrase. The Cowboys have only lost to playoff-caliber teams. Losses have come at the hands of the Seahawks, Bears, Ravens, Giants, and Falcons. Three of those losses were by less than one score.
They have beaten on weaker opponents: Buccaneers, Panthers, and Giants (yes, I listed the Giants on both lists).
Second, why can’t the Cowboys end at 10-6?
The ‘Boys face seven (count them 7!) teams with losing records in the final eight games. Winning that many will be hard, but the odds are in their favor.
There have been teams that have had similar starts with more gaps that have backed into the playoffs. Two examples come quickly to mind. The Seahawks with a losing record two years ago backed into the playoffs thanks to a weak division (check). The Giants Super Bowl winning season last year also seems very similar (check).
Add some improvements here and there, and they could start stringing enough wins to get them into the division winner discussion. They don’t need to beat teams like the Ravens and Falcons anymore. They just need the running game to get healthy, stop the tiny mistakes — like missed blocks — and tamper down the penalties. Little things matter big when you’re a bubble team.
Add the fact the Giants have looked shaky at times and downright beatable. More importantly, their second half season is as hard as the Cowboys’ is easy. With the Eagles and Redskins not looking to rise up anytime soon, the Cowboys have an excellent chance to leapfrog the Giants.
I still think they won’t actually win a playoff game. I’m too much of a Cowboy-hater to drink that Kool-Aid.
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch and at www.facebookcom/craveonlinesports.com.
Photo Credit: Getty