It's been a frustrating season here in Texas. The team repeatedly saw double digit leads fade away as the defense was not able to seal the deal in the end and the offense failed to sustain drives late in the game after promising starts. The quarterback is sometimes brilliant, but has had some real boneheaded moments. Mired in mediocrity, the team was left with one last chance to make a statement and redeem the season. Given the history, it really didn't look like there was much hope.
But Texas A&M had a great day and won the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Well, what did you think I was talking about?
I just was struck at some of the parallels between the Aggies and the Cowboys this year. I don't really believe in omens or anything - but I hope the 33-22 win for A&M will be a model for Dallas to win this thing against the New York Giants and move on into the playoffs.
Time for the game day look at what is being said about the contest in the media.
First, the weather. It's gonna be a cold one. Not horrible, but it looks like temps will be in the thirties at MetLife Stadium for game time, and falling.
The news and commentary after the jump.
If you haven't heard, Mat McBriar has been placed on IR, and Chris Jones will be handling the punting duties. Also, in what is certainly a real shocker for everyone, Daniel Loper has been released for, I think, the forty-third time this season, to make room for QB Chris Greisen. I also like this move:
Greisen and Jones were both expected to make the trip anyway with coach Jason Garrett deciding to bring the entire practice squad on the trip for this final regular-season game.
This also raises the question of who will take over the holding duties, given Tony Romo's sore hand.
Chris Jones, who was called up to replace McBriar on the active roster, has worked with Bailey during practices as the holder.
Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis and kicking coach Chris Boniol will help coach Jason Garrett make the final decision regarding the holder.
It looks like Mat McBriar might not be back next year, since this is the last year of his contract, but one person with the Cowboys should be returning, according to Jerry Jones.
Jason Garrett's future as coach of the Dallas Cowboys doesn't hinge on the outcome of the win-or-go-home clash with the New York Giants, Jerry Jones said Friday.
"Ridiculous" is how Jones termed media speculation that he could fire Garrett if the Cowboys lose Sunday night in the Meadowlands.
Of course, it doesn't matter how much he denies it. You know the rumors would crank right back up if the Cowboys lost the game. Fortunately, that will all be moot when they win.
As if the game is not important enough, there are some heavy handed pronouncements about Tony's legacy and such out there.
Romo's legacy starts now.
"This is something of a playoff game, because if we don't win, we don't get in," Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said. "This is definitely a signature game for Tony."
No pressure there.
Most of the Cowboys are staying quiet about the game, unlike some of the Giants. But at least one member of the Cowboys organization has something to say.
"This is my first year with the Cowboys and I came here because this is the team, this is America's Team," Rob Ryan said Friday. "That's why I came here. I came to come to the best. I want to be the one that everybody wants to be a part of."
He's planning on winning the game. Gotta admit, he has the passion. Now if his defense can just walk the walk.
One potential distraction for Dallas has apparently been averted.
Not only has Dez Bryant settled up his debt with a New York investment firm, he's matured incredibly over the last two seasons.
This, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has probably been as concerned as anyone about the dealings of the mercurial wide receiver.
Moving on, there are a bunch of articles centering around the idea that this is really the first playoff game for the Cowboys and the Giants. I'll just put one here, from The Sports Network.
The two heated rivals will be going toe-to-toe in Sunday's regular-season finale from MetLife Stadium with a postseason berth on the line, with the winner claiming an NFC East championship and a No. 4 seed in the upcoming conference tournament and the loser having a campaign that had fostered high expectations come to a swift and bitter end.
Nothing we don't know already, but it is all over the place this weekend.
The hate is also all over the place in New York. Just check out the ten reasons listed in the NY Daily News. Leading the list:
1. Tony Romo is ranked fourth in the NFL quarterback ratings, an insult to Eli and to our intelligence.
Romo stands five spots ahead of Eli Manning, which, we all know, is ridiculous. Clearly, the ratings need an extra category called, "Throwing away every important game the quarterback ever plays in."
Gawd, I hope Tony lights it up, Eli throws about four picks, and for the time being at least everyone shuts up about this kind of stuff.
Of course, this guy also hates the Cowboys Cheerleaders. Which makes me question, well, something. And besides, there are reasons NBC grabbed this game besides the impact it has on the playoffs.
The Cowboys are ratings gold.
The NY Post looks at the Giant's passing attack and whether it can handle a shootout.
But while the finest part of the Giants' season has been their explosive and consistent passing game, the air attack is in a different situation heading into tomorrow's NFC East showdown against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
The last two games, the Giants passing attack has been shaky.
The Dallas players are still a tad bitter about losing the first Giants game.
Those final minutes at Cowboys Stadium three short weeks ago will fuel Dallas in Sunday'sNFC East rematch at MetLife Stadium. The debacle has haunted the Cowboys ever since, so much so that some players refuse to discuss it.
Speaking of games that haunt us, here is a look at blown opportunities for both the Giants and Cowboys this season. Warning, it might cause some heartburn.
Although there were some lucky wins along the way, Associated Press writer Richard Rosenblatt notes that both teams had their share of anguishing defeats, so there's plenty of fuel for a pick-six of blown chances.
In the Dallas Morning News, there is a look at the matchup between Orlando Scandrick and Victor Cruz.
This season, he has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 66 percent of the passes thrown in his path. Cruz, who made six catches for 74 yards against the Cowboys last month, will challenge Scandrick - a cornerback who still has plenty to prove.
Somehow, not a shock. They also look briefly at the change from Montrae Holland to Derrick Dockery.
ESPN looks at their choices for key matchups in what they term a Grudge Match.
The Sporting News has a pre-snap read on the game, including some video analysis.
The San Antonio Express has its Scouting Report and also its own take on Jason Garrett's status.
Jerry Jones nailed it when he said it would be "ridiculous" to make a coaching change after only 11/2 seasons with Garrett at the helm. Dallas is on the right track, but it needs to upgrade the secondary and find more pass rushers.
And that must happen no matter what the outcome is tonight.
Yep. But I think it would be a lot better if Dallas wins, don't you?