With all of the disappointment over the Cowboys' start this season, I think that it's worthwhile to note that there's still a ways to go until the situation gets critical and the team needs to make a change. I'd like to exhibit other cases of teams that have a serious need for a wake-up call.
San Francisco and Carolina
On November 12 of last year the Niners faced off with Chicago in a pivotal game that was meant to show which of the two was on the steadier path to rebuilding. Both clubs featured young quarterbacks (Alex Smith and Jay Cutler) who were trying to redeem themselves after disappointing past seasons, as well as head coaches Mike Singletary and Lovie Smith who were trying to show progress in forming competitive teams. That game proved to be an ugly mess to the tune of 10-6 in favor of SF. Ten months later it seems as if a rematch would end a lot differently as Chicago has proven to be a potential playoff team at 3-1, whereas Singletary's 49ers are a train wreck on offense, and have fired coordinator Jimmy Raye. On defense they seem no more competent after allowing 31 points to the Chiefs, 27 to the Saints, and 28 to the Seahawks. In Week 4 the Niners performed admirably against Atlanta, and seemed poised to pull off a road upset, only to blow by turning the ball over when they had opportunities to extend their leads. Singletary has already stated that in his opinion the quarterback position shouldn't be the main position in the game of football, but that doesn't aid his cause when he loses games because of a lukewarm passing game.
John Fox is also going to have a rough ride if the first four weeks are an indicator of what's to come for the Panthers. They've already lost two games against divisional opponents, including their home opener against Tampa. Fox and Singletary have to deal with similar situations, in that they lead teams with weak front office management that have questionable passing games. My bet is that Singletary is most at risk for losing his job, because the Niner faithful are far rowdier than Carolina's.
Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit
These sets of wheels are vastly improved over last year's models, but it looks like the Midwest still hasn't recovered from the Recession, (and living in Cleveland, I don't need football to know that). Although both the Lions and the Browns have amazingly grown an offense, neither team really can show any fruit from their efforts. The Browns lost a disappointing opener at Tampa, then dropped a nail-biting home opener against Kansas City and went on to lose on the road to Baltimore. This week they finally were able to hold on to a lead and dump Cincinnati. Detroit has shown decent efforts as well against the Bears, Eagles, Packers and Vikings, each time failing to cross the final bridge and get a W.
Buffalo played very well against Miami and New England, both times keeping the score close. But Chan Gailey's team was absolutely atrocious against the Packers and Jets, and they don't seem to have much prospects having already dropped games against against all divisional rivals.
San Diego and Minnesota?
Two clubs with the same record as Dallas, but maybe even more problems. Philip Rivers has not stopped being productive in terms of yardage, but turnovers (his 5 INTs) and special teams allowed a likely victory on the road in Seattle to become an embarrassing loss. Minnesota earned a big boost by beating Detroit at home, although such a win cannot possibly be construed as a sign that all is well. Unfortunately, the horned warriors may be discovering the limits to Brett Favre's endurance. The immortal one has already thrown a league leading six interceptions. San Diego recovered nicely in Week 4 to annihilate the Cardinals, which could be the boost it needs to stay in the hunt in the wide open AFC West.
So coming out of its bye Week, Dallas faces a division knotted up at 2-2 and one game ahead of us. Also, there is evidence that the hard part may be ahead. The choking performance in Week 1 was a God awful mistake, and Dallas's offense must aim to recreate its performance in Houston so as to earn key victories on the road.
What opponent ahead after the bye week will be the biggest challenge for the Cowboys?
Minnesota (49 votes)
Tennessee (13 votes)
Jacksonville (1 vote)
New York Giants (50 votes)
113 total votes