Gloom and despair lie heavy across the Dallas Cowboys fanbase. The Windy City wipeout crushed spirits. After that debacle against the Chicago Bears, it is hard to imagine that the Cowboys have any chance at all of winning the last three games and making it back to post-season play.
But there are not one, but several trends this season that indicate that the Cowboys not only could do just that, but should do it if things continue the way they have gone during this strange season. Here are the three remaining games, and the indicators that point to success for Dallas.
Green Bay Packers. Everyone is watching to see if Aaron Rodgers will return for this game. If he doesn't, this should be a much easier task for the Cowboys - although they certainly haven't done very well against backup quarterbacks (see Josh McCown). The Packers have to be cautious, because there is a risk if Rodgers should re-injure his collarbone that he would never be the same. That is why Tony Romo never returned to the field when he had a similar injury in 2010. And even if Rodgers does play, he may not be at full speed. But that is beyond Dallas' control.
Two things argue in Dallas' favor, no matter how things go at quarterback for Green Bay. First, the Cowboys have already bounced back from an even worse defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. This team has been resilient so far.
But more importantly, this is a home game. If you haven't noticed, Dallas is 5-1 at home, and only 2-5 on the road. And the only loss was the shootout against the Denver Broncos, where the Cowboys offense played one of the best games ever. In the other games, Dallas has just found ways to win. For whatever reason, they seem to be a different team in AT&T Stadium. Not that much better (the defense has still struggled against good quarterbacks), but more determined. Admittedly, the teams coming into Jerryworld have not been doing all that well in the win department, but the Packers are sitting at .500. If things continue the way they have been going, Dallas wins this one.
At Washington Redskins. The Cowboys have only managed to win two games on the road. Against the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. Who just happen to be NFC East rivals, like the 'Skins. For whatever reason, Dallas has dominated in division games this season. Add in that Washington, currently at 3-10, is one of the truly abysmal teams this year and has a head coach that is publicly mooning his owner in an apparent attempt to get fired, and this also falls into the category of Dallas beating the bad teams (however narrowly). So again, two trends for this season say Dallas takes this game (which, if they handle the Packers, would mean they finish over .500).
Philadelphia Eagles. There is no doubt that the Eagles are playing good football right now, although they have also had some very good luck. They missed Rodgers when they played the Packers, and the blizzard game against the Detroit Lions largely nullified Calvin Johnson. But this game is back home for Dallas, and it is a division rival. Again, two trends say that Dallas should finally break the last game problems it has had the previous two years.
Those are the trends. Am I grasping at straws? Well, probably. But what I have pointed out is simply true. A quick glance at the results so far this season bears this out. Even the beatdown in the City of Big Shoulders fits the pattern in that it was an away game against a non-division rival, which has been a loss every time this season. The trends are in the Cowboys' favor. They still have to play much, much better than they did against the Bears. But everything so far this season says that should happen.
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