I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon reading BtB, and I saw stories about the draft and even one fan post about how we should lose the NYG game to get a better draft spot. I heard what other fans were saying, and it sounded so bleak. Anyway, I was driving home from work yesterday, thinking about this upcoming game on Sunday and trying not to look ahead to the playoffs. As an optimistic Cowboys fan, though, this was admittedly difficult for me. I was listening BSPN Radio. Mike Salk was filling in for Doug Gottlieb and he proceeded to declare that "I would be absolutely shocked if the Superbowl was played by anyone outside of 2 teams from the following group: GB, NO, NE, PIT, BAL." He went on to say that his reasoning for this proclaimation came down to one position: QB. He then spent the rest of the time in his segment explaining why the QBs on all of the other projected playoff teams (included DAL and NYG since there is no clear favorite) weren't playoff caliber.
Why do sports analysts think this way? Recent playoff history is ripe with examples of low-seeded teams who backed into the playoffs and went all the way.
You'd think that as a die-hard Cowboys fan, I would be used to all the hate slung at Tony Romo. We've all heard the labels attached to him and I'm not going to expand on those. But I say that the reason we have a chance in the playoffs is precisely because of Tony Romo.
Why I like our chances after the jump....
Of course, all this is for nothing if the Cowboys fail to take care of business at the Meadowlands this Sunday. But then again, I like our chances. Eli is coming off of 2 stinker games (just 9 of 27 last week; 3 INT the week before) and has struggled at home (2-5) this year. The Giants injury report looks every bit as bad as ours. We had success in the running game without Murray in the first meeting. All of these things point to success Sunday as long as the Cowboys don't beat themselves.
If the Cowboys finish off the Giants this week, a home playoff game against either DET or ATL is up next. I like our chances in that game, whichever the opponent. We had DET in the palm of our hand, up by 12 pts. in the 4th quarter when we played them earlier in the season. We all know what happened next, but this is a different Cowboys team which has found a way to limit turnovers, especially at the QB position. Atlanta has a good team, but I think we match up well with them.
If the Cowboys take care of business at home in the first round, the most plausible scenario has them traveling to the Superdome to face Breesy and the Saints. This game gives me more pause than Round 1, but then I take a look at how NYG played them and I begin to realize that we have a shot in this game as well. It would be a big shootout for sure. NO's defense can be exploited. Our pass rush would have to show up in a big way (much like DAL vs. NO in 2010), but I point you to that game as a prime example. The Cowboys have had success against Brees in the Superdome before. Adjustments would need to be made in the secondary; I'd like to see us play more zone. But I like our chances against NO.
If we get by NO in the divisional round, *voila!* ... the Cowboys are in the NFC Championship game, facing (presumably) the winner of the GB vs. SF game the previous week. I think GB takes care of SF, so we would most likely be traveling to Lambeau. Herein lies our greatest challenge of the playoffs. Rodgers is an absolute nightmare for our secondary. Romo and the offense would have to score early and often and match GB score for score. Another shootout, but we have the guns to bring to the party as well. NYG took GB down to the final minutes in their game, and I think we could hang with GB in similar fashion. I like our chances against GB too.
My point is this....we have an elite QB here in Dallas, no matter what the media or even our own "fans" say about him. We have an excellent group of WRs, and our OL is decent enough to get the job done. If this team gets hot, gets a couple of calls, (add in a pinch of luck for good measure)....we are in this thing!
Of course, it's one game at a time, and that starts this week with the Giants. I leave you with a poll: