I already used this in another article, but since I am basing this article off it, I need to put it up again.
In #Cowboys 4 wins combined opp. Rec: 10-20 4 losses opp rec: 23-7 They can't beat good football teams— Patrick Conn (@PatSportsGuy) October 28, 2013
It struck me that Patrick has laid out a simple yet very effective tool for predicting how the rest of the schedule will go for the Dallas Cowboys. All you have to know is whether they are facing a good or a bad team.
Early in the season, this method would not have worked, because we did not know if teams were good or bad until a few weeks had passed. Going into game one, who would have guessed the New York Giants were going to lose six straight? And the next week, I am sure no one would have predicted the Kansas City Chiefs were going to be the only undefeated team in the NFL at the halfway point.
Now, however, we have half a season behind us, and for most teams, a pretty good idea of whether they are a serious playoff contender, or not. So, with no further ado, here is my prediction of how the rest of the season plays out, based on that and that alone. The results of each game, in order:
Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings made a dramatic move because their quarterback, Christian Ponder, was so bad. They benched him and went out and signed Josh Freeman, who was run off by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because he was so bad. OK, so Freeman was really run off by Greg Schiano, the Bucs head coach, but he will tell you that the two are the same thing. Freeman set out to prove that Schiano was every bit the incompetent, clueless fool that many believe him to be - and instead may have single-handedly given the Tampa Bay owners reason to pause in firing Schiano by giving one of the most miserable performances ever on Monday Night Football. He was so good he made the New York Giants look, well, if not good, at least like the second worst team on the field. Minnesota still has Adrian Peterson, but he is not the MVP he was last year. And the Vikings are really bad on defense.
Put this one in the win column, moving Dallas' record to 5-4.
New Orleans Saints - The Cowboys have trouble with good quarterbacks. They go into New Orleans to face Drew Brees. After what happened against Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford, it will probably be closer than it should be, the Cowboys will have a chance late, but in the end, Dallas will play the role of Kevin Bacon in Animal House, in the hazing scene: "THANK YOU SIR, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?"
A special Dez cam captures over an hour of histrionics from the frustrated wide receiver as the hearts of Cowboys fans are broken yet again. The video of Dez is later released with sound, and it is discovered he merely singing "Y-M-C-A" at the top of his lungs and the spelling out of the letters with his arms is being misinterpreted. Record slumps to 5-5.
New York Giants - Eli Manning is the anomaly of the season for the Cowboys. Well, he is an anomaly in many other ways, but I mean he came into Jerryworld and burned the defense for over 400 yards passing, and yet Dallas still won the game. As I write this, the Giants are on a torrid two game winning streak - over the Vikings, whose travails at quarterback I have already covered, and the Philadelphia Eagles, who were down to their third stinger by the end of the game. The Giants are still a bad team.
Sean Lee decides he is tired of fooling around, and scores two defensive touchdowns and a safety while Tony Romo throws all his first half passes to Gavin Escobar, James Hanna and Phillip Tanner. The Cowboys finally put it away when Jason Garrett rips the radio out of Romo's helmet and tells the quarterback "(bleep) find a (bleep) open receiver (bleep bleep bleepedy bleep bleep)". In related news, Bill Callahan starts circulating resumes.
Another win takes it to 6-5.
Oakland Raiders - The black and silver is showing a few signs of life with Terrell Pryor, but the one thing the Cowboys don't seem to have much trouble with is a running quarterback. The Raiders are not that bad, but they are bad enough.
The Cowboys see a momentary return of their red zone woes, but Dan Bailey sets a record with 11 field goals.
Shockingly, Dallas is two games over .500 at 7-5.
Chicago Bears - They were a kind of borderline good team with one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking 29th in points allowed. And then Jay Cutler tore his groin muscle. Just writing that makes me want to hide under my desk and hold my blankie. Cutler says he will be back in a couple of weeks.
It's a groin muscle. Somehow, I think that particular muscle not being right may have a teensy bit of effect on your throwing motion. The team is talking more about a four week recovery, which is what head coach Marc Trestman wants Cutler to do. Without Jay, the Bears slide from being a good team to being a bad one, especially with the defensive struggles they are having. And I think Trestman is not going to risk Cutler by letting him rush back to the field. This game would be the fifth week because of Dallas' bye. If things don't go well for Cutler, he might be out another week, and even if he is on schedule, this is his first week back. I think that makes them a bad team, although it is close.
This could all change if Cutler does heal fast. However, a mysterious benefactor, who has an Arkansas accent and strangely mangled syntax when he talks, arranges for Cutler to see Dr. Williams Myers just before the game. Myers states that the injury is far worse than imagined, and Chicago almost loses Cutler for the season, until they float rumors they are going to cut him, and that several other teams want to sign him, at which point Myers immediately clears him to play after conducting an examination by fax machine.
Dallas gets a win here and goes to 8-5, equaling the win total from the past two years.
Dallas slips to 8-6. Monte Kiffin is seen attempting to kick a kitten, but fortunately for all he is not fast enough to catch it.
Washington Redskins - They are yet another horribly bad defense, in the same league as the Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars. And Robert Griffin III is basically a running quarterback, which is not what gives the Cowboys fits. If he can stay healthy. Besides, they are another NFC East rival, which pretty much makes them a bad team automatically.
Dallas shatters the .500 barrier at 9-6. Clinches NFC East.
Philadelphia Eagles. With Michael Vick's injuries and Nick Foles' concussions, Chip Kelly is forced to turn to Matt Barkley as his quarterback. Unfortunately for the team, Kelly cannot get the memory of Barkley in a USC uniform out of his head, and is unable to come up with anything resembling an effective offensive plan. The Eagles go out with a whimper.
With the NFC East clinched, Dallas lets Romo sit and turns the game over to Kyle Orton. He goes 32 for 41 passing for 412 yards and six touchdowns. He is immediately contacted by Matt Flynn's agent.
Dallas finishes the season 10-6.
There you have it. Even if Chicago gets Cutler back ahead of schedule and the Bears are better than they seem to be, the Cowboys should cruise to 9-7 fairly easily, and that will be more than enough to win the NFC East. And once they get there, who knows what can happen?