I am consistently searching for evidence whether this is good or a great team. On the one hand, we can massage the data (noting our strength of schedule, or lining up a bunch of "ifs") to make it seem that we are sitting better than 2-2. On the other hand, we can simply call this a rebuilding year and hope that next year JG is able to make the next step.
This week may be a good time for proving ourselves. Injuries are part of the game, and we won a very important game with lots of injuries (against the Skins). But this weekend we have no injuries to blame, no lack of an off-season, nothing but who we are. This may be the weekend to answer that simple question.
Granted, I'll be ecstatic at any W against New England. And even losing this weekend doesn't mean we are terrible--simply that we could not beat the Pats, which would hardly be a huge surprise. The next three teams we play aren't nearly as good, so even an L this Sunday could set up 3-1 over the next four weeks (5-3 overall) and a run at the playoffs.
On the other hand, what if we win convincingly? What if we see more than another squeaked-out W based on various flukes (proving once again that we can roll the dice against anybody in the NFL)? What if see more than just competitive yard totals (which we've had all along) or last minute heroics (which we've had sporadically)? What if, for the first time in years, the Cowboys come out and play smart football for four quarters?
What if our defense wears out Brady, instead of the other way around? What if our offense doesn't just spread the field against a poor pass defense (a near certainty), but also controls the clock and finds its way across the goal line? What if JG, TR and company show discipline in play-calling and execution? What if we play for all 60 minutes?
How we play tomorrow, against a team that is undeniably a contender, may be the best predictor of whether we can make a run down the stretch. Are we the same fluky, unpredictable goof-offs, finding a new unexpected hero (or new goat) each game? Or is it now the moment, with enough practice and enough uninjured players, to simply beat the other team?
I say that a convincing win this week will set to rest some doubts that still linger, not just in the media but also in the players' own minds. I say that a convincing win this weekend will make us proud again.