At various points in everyone's lives they inevitably find themselves in moments that shape the various scopes of their existence. It is not always easy to recognize them for what they are, often times we are only able to identify them for what they were after the fact. The 2011 Dallas Cowboys stand at one of these moments this coming Sunday. At some point, good teams have to beat good teams, to truly stand elite.
This is a talented roster, no question; this is a talented roster that has been hampered by injury, inconsistency, and misfortune. It would be easy to take solace in a close loss to a good team, with two of our brightest young stars wounded or out in Miles Austin and Sean Lee. But in reality, good teams overcome, good teams beat other good teams.
Buffalo is a good team, not a great team, a team certainly facing questions; but a team that is fully capable of knocking us in the mouth at home and starting a skid towards mediocrity.
In recent memory, this is the classic Cowboys let down game. In the past this is exactly the kind of match-up that a weak willed Wade Phillips-coached Cowboys team would lose, and tell us that there is plenty of season left to play.
There isn't plenty of season left, ladies and gentleman. Say it with me again, at some point good teams beat other good teams, at some point you win when you have to, and at some point that either starts... or it doesn't.
Right now Dallas is a very pedestrian 4-4 team, owning only 1 victory over a playoff caliber opponent in the 49ers. They own close losses to the Pats, Jets and Lions. One can make the case that they could have or should have won all of those games, but they haven't. Come Sunday this team will make a choice, maybe not consciously, maybe not a choice they aren't even aware of; but Sunday this team will decide if it is really a playoff team or a pretender.
This is a young team, an extremely talented team, and a team fully capable of matching up with any in the NFL. There are explosive weapons on both sides of this team, and this is an opponent that we are fully capable of beating.
But at some point good teams beat other good teams, and until this team can consistently do this, until this team proves that it can beat another good team, until this team can exorcise its demons, I'll still be nervous.
Sunday this team stands at this season's precipice, two paths diverge in a wood, one towards glory, the other mediocrity; Sunday we find out how good we are, and I for one couldn't be more nervous.