Welcome to the playoffs, Cowboys fans. All followers of the ‘Boys should take a moment to reflect on that achievement. It's the first step in our ultimate quest, a Lombardi Trophy.
But the regular-season work isn't over yet. Dallas still has an opportunity to grab the NFC East crown and earn a home-field playoff game. Heck, the Cowboys actually still have a chance to get a first-week bye. What is for sure is the winner of this week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles will be the NFC East champs.
Raf and I were conversing by instant message and he passed along this little nugget to me about the consistency of the Cowboys defense against the NFC East this year, whether good or bad.
In Game 1 against New York, we gave up 33 points, in Game 2, we gave up 31 points. Two losses. In Game 1 against Washington we gave up 6 points, in Game 2 we gave up 0. Two wins. In Game 1 against Philly we gave up 16 points. In game two? We shall see, but the Cowboys defense averages giving up only 16.7 points per game. 16 points would be remarkably consistent with our overall average and exactly on with the first game of the year against the Eagles. If Dallas can hold Philly to 14-20 points, I like our chances.
Philly's defense, statistically, is kind of the reverse of ours. We give up yards (ranked 12th) but do a great job at limiting scoring (ranked 3rd). Philly does a decent job yardage-wise (ranked 7th), but gives up more points than they should (ranked 16th).
In the Eagles 11 wins this year, they have scored 24 points or more in all of them. In their four losses, they never broke 23 points.
In the first game this season, the Cowboys corners (with help from the safeties) held DeSean Jackson to two catches for 29 yards. This is the key matchup, Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman vs. Jackson. The Eagles do have other weapons, but you take your chances with them, you absolutely have to contain Jackson.
Conclusion based only on stats and the previous game: If the Cowboys defense can turn in another solid performance and hold the Eagles close to the 20-point barrier, the Cowboys offense should be able to do enough to cover that gap and give the ‘Boys an NFC East crown.