On October 16th, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New England Patriots leaving them 2-3 and an afterthought in the NFC playoff converastion. Four weeks and three wins later, the Cowboys are 5-4, just one game behind the Giants for the the only playoff spot coming out of the NFC East, and easing into the soft part of their schedule.
The Pokes have definitely regained their swagger beating the Rams, Seahawks, and Bills by a 101-27 aggregate. DeMarco Murray has emerged as the feature back (674, 6.7, 2 TDs, 4 games) Jerry Jones always hoped that Felix Jones would become. Tony Romo’s health (ribs) and game management skills have improved and Dez Bryant (32, 16.2, 5 TDs) is a star wideout in the making. Old dependable Jason Witten is having anoth Pro Bowl type of year and Miles Austin is yet to break out.
The Cowboys are 10th in total defense, 11th against the run, 12th against the pass. DeMarcus Ware is second to Jared Allen in sacks (game in hand) with 13 and Terrance Newman has anchored a solid secondary with four interceptions. Special teams have done the job led by PK Dan Bailey who has converted 23-24 FGs and is perfect in extra points.
A quick glance at the Cowboys schedule and it’s easy to see how they control their own destiny. Dallas and the Giants have seven games left to play. The Cowboys face teams with a combines 27-36 record for a .428 winning percentage while the Giants face teams with a combined 37-27 record for a .578 winning percentage. The G-Men face a desperate Eagle team this week before traveling to New Orleans and then hosting the unbeaten Packers. They also face the Jets in their second to last game.
The Dallas schedule is tailor made but they’ll have to figure out a way to take care of business on the road where they are just 1-3. This week’s division matchup vs the freefalling Skins is key as it would complete a season sweep and give the Cowboys a leg up in tiebreaker situations with the Giants. Remaining roadies at Arizona, Tampa Bay, and the Giants are all very winnable.
With the Redskins and the Eagles effectively out of the picture, the winner of the NFC East will be decided in the Dec 11 and Jan 1st home and home between the Cowboys and the Giants. The Giants have won three of the last four in the series and split last year, each winning in the other’s house. It could very well come down to a win-or-go-home New Years Day showdown with Big Blue in the Meadowlands but based on schdule and current for, the NFC East definitely runs through Dallas.