The Dallas Cowboys have now won four in a row, and sit at the top of the NFC East. The New York Giants aren’t favored to win this week against New England and Philadelphia is still hanging on to hope by a thread. So what’s the big deal?
The big deal might be because the Cowboys didn’t obliterate either of their last two opponents, the now 3-8 Miami Dolphins and the 3-7 Washington Redskins. Both games came on last minute heroics by quarterback Tony Romo and rookie kicker Dan Baily. It took Overtime to beat the Redskins by three and against the Miami Dolphins the scored a field goal in the final seconds of regulation to win by one. There is however more to this then what either team’s record would indicate.
It is true that the Miami Dolphins have only won three games this season, but has anyone forgotten that those three wins came in the last three weeks? The Dolphins looked to be one of the hottest teams in the league coming into this game, sure playoff chances were likely already shot, but they were winning and winning big. Did you also know that the Miami Dolphins have scored a total of 212 points this season while their opponents have combined for 206 points? Sure quite a few teams with losing records have had their point differentials skewed by lopsided victories in the past, but we are talking a team with only three wins out of 11 games. This is a team that has been more competitive than their record might show. Three of their losses decided by three points or less and only two of their losses decided by more than 10 points. This was supposed to be a win for Dallas and it was, but it is foolish for anyone to have thought this was going to be an easy one.
As for the Redskins, the only people who should be surprised at the closeness of this game should be people who never watched these two teams play each other. You would have to go back to 2006 in the first contest between these two teams for that season, to find a game where Dallas won with anything that might be construed as a lopsided victory of 27-10. Coincidentally the Redskins would win the next meeting 22-19. Drew Bledsoe was quarterback during the win, and Romo would be at the helm the next time the two clubs would meet. Before you ask, no I don’t count blanking the Redskins 17-0 as a lopsided victory but you can if you want to, I certainly can see your reasoning. There is a definite trend for the Cowboys and Redskins game, it doesn’t matter what either team’s record is going into that game, all that matters for either team is beating the other. It’s the hardest fought game of the season for these two teams, and possibly the hardest fought games of any in the NFC East.
It’s time to sit back and gain some perspective these days following Thanks Giving. The Cowboys have found themselves after a shaky start at the top of their division. They have two more games they should be able to win in the next three weeks in the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and tough match ups with the New York Giants twice and the Eagles one more time. The road won’t get any less bumpy, but while you are at home wishing you didn’t cook such a large turkey (because you know it will be your breakfast lunch and dinner for the next three weeks) you can at least be glad the Cowboys are finally in position to win the East and make the playoffs again.