Predicting the Cowboys 2013: Part 3
The 2013 Cowboys will be exciting to watch, with anywhere from 12-4 to 5-11 potential. How will they fare, amongst the rest of the NFL? Here’s my take, part 3
Previously…The first quarter of the 2013 season saw tremendous success for the Cowboys as they swept the opponents on their way to a 4-0 start, including two thrilling finishes against the Chiefs and Chargers, to earn the top spot in the NFC East. The second quarter of the season threw a couple tough matches at the Cowboys in the form of the Broncos and the Redskins, and Dallas lost its first two games of the season. After the rocky stretch, Dallas evened the scored with two wins over the Eagles and Lions to sit as the NFC East leaders with a record of 6-2. What with the third quarter of matches bring?
Week 9: vs Vikings
The Vikings are a pesky team still trying to solve whether they are a playoff team or not. In a game that Dallas plans for heavily against the run, the Vikings have success passing the football. Ponder doesn’t have to do much, but an effective passing game and even better defense (two Romo interceptions in the first half) keeps them on top at halftime, 10-3. The game continues to be a defensive punch-out and Dallas is unable to gain traction. Trailing 17-13 late, mistakes haunt the offense and the Cowboys see the Vikings add a TD to their lead. Dallas is able to get a field goal but can’t recover the onside kick, falling to 6-3.
Week 10: @ Saints
In a great game that will test each defense and the mental stamina of the quarterbacks, the Saints home crowd will be extremely loud. The Cowboys defense holds fast in the first half, only allowing field goals while the offense rolls, holding a 17-12 advantage at halftime. In the second half, Romo implodes, recording his second multi-interception game in a row and the Saints take a 27-20 lead which they hold late into the fourth quarter. On the final drive, Dallas is unable to convert on fourth down and the Cowboys head home defeated, losing their fourth of six.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @ Giants
After two bad showings before the bye, Romo and Company will be ready for an important divisional game against the Giants. They won their first game thanks to an explosive offense, but will now have to worry about a healthy Jason Pierre Paul adding tons of pressure. It is a back and forth game, and the Giants lead 17-13 at halftime. Dallas locks up on defense in the third quarter and Romo goes for 150 yards and multiple TD’s. putting the Cowboys in good position with a 27-20 lead heading into the final period. The Giants and Cowboys trade TD’s, and with 4 minutes remaining, the Cowboys are close to their first victory in 3 weeks with a 34-27 lead. A quick field goal by the Giants gives the ball back to Dallas, but Romo is unrelenting and leads his team to another field goal, giving the Giants 1 minute to score a TD, down 37-30. Eli and Company show incredible clutchness and score the long TD to Cruz. But in one of the greatest and memorable finishes of the season, Jason Hatcher is just able to tip the extra point, and Dallas holds on in incredible fashion, escaping 37-36.
Week 13: vs Raiders
In the Cowboys annual Thanksgiving game, the Raiders will pay a visit to Dallas. A strong passing game and defense keeps the Cowboys up with high advantage to end the first. The Raiders give the Cowboys more trouble than they should in the second, but Dallas is comfortable with a 17-7 halftime lead. Romo puts the game away, leading Dallas to a 31-7 lead heading to the fourth. The Raiders attempt a semi-comeback, cutting down to 31-17, but Dallas refuses to lose to a lowly team as the Raiders, not allowing any more scores and holding for a 31-17 victory.
The third quarter of the season mimicked the second, starting with a pair of disappointing losses followed by a welcome rebound with two wins. Dallas will be 8-4, (4-4 over their last eight games) with the strong start just keeping them afloat. A hard December stretch is on the way, holding what seems to be a fantastic, exciting, yet challenging finish to the playoff and divisional race.
NFC East Standings:
Dallas Cowboys, 8-4
New York Giants, 7-5
Washington Redskins, 7-5
Philadelphia Eagles, 5-7