What’s next for the Cowboys?

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Since starting the year 3-0 and fueling dreams of rediscovered glory, the Cowboys have lost seven of 10 games.

The good news is that they’re still in position to win the NFC East. The bad news is that they don’t look like a team capable of winning a damn game.

The door is now wide open for the woeful Eagles, who at 5-7 can, in theory, run the table and win the division. But these are the Eagles who, like the Cowboys, have lost three in a row. And these are the Eagles who will be facing the Giants and Eli Manning on Monday night. The Eagles who will be hearing it, loudly and clearly from their fans if they sputter at all in the game that can pull them even with the Cowboys at 6-7, atop the division.

Through it all, the reality is that one of these four teams in the NFC East (and, yes, they’re all still alive) will win the division and host the Seahawks or the 49ers, who will be 12-4 or 13-3 when visiting the fourth-seeded division champs, who are guaranteed a home playoff game by a system that could, in theory, have the four most dysfunctional organizations in the same division and one of them will be playing a home game in the wild-card round.

But even if the system changes (and change it should), it won’t change before Dallas or Philly (or, possibly, the Giants or Washington) get a chance to face the team that will have lost a potentially exhausting Week 17 game that quite possibly will have a bye hanging in the balance.

The fact that the Cowboys still have arguably the best chance of any of the teams in the NFC East to be that team will continue to nudge owner Jerry Jones away from firing coach Jason Garrett, in large part because Jones apparently (and justifiably) has no confidence in any of the other members of the staff to do what Garrett can’t: Finally start the lawnmower on a team that has the talent to be much better than it is.

So what will they do? The players will yell, scream, rant, and rave, Jones will talk about how fairy tales can still come true, and quite possibly the Cowboys will fall flat (again) in 10 days when they host the Rams.

In theory, the Cowboys can snap out of this funk and get hot in January. But it would be useful to at least become lukewarm in December. The Cowboys currently are anything but that.

At some point, Jones needs to blame himself for incessant chatter that sends mixed signals to the locker room without taking the kind of action aimed at snapping the team out of its current funk.

The fact that, in each of the last two games, the Cowboys have raced to a 7-0 lead before falling apart underscores the reality that they simply aren’t making the adjustments necessary to hold a lead. So why should anyone believe that they’ll be able to do it against the Rams or the Eagles?

While the Cowboys can still stumble next weekend at home against L.A., Dallas will need to be able to go to Philadelphia and win the game in order to position themselves for, if the Eagles beat the Giants and Washington over the next two Sundays, a winner-take-all Week 16 showdown in Philly.

Based on how the Cowboys have played since Jones decided after a narrow loss to the Patriots to take off the gloves and call out Garrett, there’s currently no reason to think that the Cowboys will figure it out.

So look for the Cowboys to keep pulling the cord on an engine that is low on gas and possibly devoid of a spark plug. And they’ll continue to look around and wonder what’s wrong while their shot at getting to the single-elimination round gets slimmer and slimmer.

Yes, anything can still happen. But with each passing game its harder to believe that the Cowboys will make it happen for themselves.

It’s great theater for football fans, but it has to be worse than maddening for Cowboys fans who know in their hearts that the streak without an NFC title game appearance, which dates back to 1995, will extend another year. The only question left is whether it ends at Philly in 17 days, in the wild-card round two weeks after that, or (if they somehow get that far) in a trip to San Francisco, New Orleans, or Seattle.

22 responses to “What’s next for the Cowboys?

  1. Paging Riverboat Ron! Scrub that. He isn’t so desperate to coach that he has to put up with the nonsense from the Joneses…

  2. don’t look good for the home team . Second week that they came out like gangbusters but hit the wall again.Dak looked terrible as did the entire team and coaching. i say put a fork in them

  3. It’s simple. Real simple. The Cowboys paid $90M to Zeke, but have yet to use him the way they used Emmitt Smith. A top-notch RB that provides a consistent running game does five things – (1) controls the clock, (2) keeps his defense rested, (3) wears on the opposing defense, (4) converts short yardage third downs, and (5) gives balance to the offense.

    We are 2-7 when Dak has more than 32 attempts (no balance). We’ve lost every game except 1 in which we lost the time of possession (tired defense). We’ve lost every game except 1 in which we had fewer than 30 rushing attempts (no balance).

    Garrett is ultimately to blame, and it’s time for him to go. But our OC and DC need to go, too. The team is not built for the way they call plays.

  4. Long time cowboy fan here — watched only the first half last night. Too disgusted to take in any more. That game had stink written all over it. Wish I could say there’s a silver lining — but — as Troy says — this team’s problems run much deeper than just the head coach. Ya know — I think it comes down to this: The Dallas Cowboys are not built to win football games. They’re built to sell tickets and luxury suites and get TV ratings. It’s not about football – it’s about glitz and glamour. Us long suffering fans need to get over it.

  5. As a Giants fan, “This is Gold, Jerry” lol.

    I guess I will root for the Eagles on Monday night against my Giants because
    a- The Giants season was over in October (again)
    b- I do like the Eagles, even though they should have kept Nick Foles
    c- Anything that causes ‘America’s Team’ pain is good with me

  6. So what you are saying is not only is the glass not half empty but what I think I see is just a mirage and that color I see is just residual hope from over 20 years ago.

  7. You’re wrong about all four teams still being in the hunt to win the division (Giants are out of it at 2-11) as well as all 4 teams being disfunctional. I’ll give you Washington and NYG and even Dallas but the Eagles are just old, slow and injury ridden (AGAIN). Where’s the disfunction??

  8. Best line of commentary in last night’s game: Aikman, “Another three and out for Dallas, against a Keystone Cops defence.”

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