All right. One day should be enough for rending your clothing and wearing sackcloth and ashes. Yes, the Dallas Cowboys failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to go 2-0 and get the season off to a truly great start. Yes, the team looked like . . . well, something steaming and smelly lying in the vicinity of a cow's rear end. But one game does not a season make, neither an exciting and gratifying win over a hated rival, or a stunning and totally disappointing loss to a team most of us thought the Cowboys could beat. The end result is 1-1 after two games, which, to be frank, most of us really expected the team to get to at this point. Just not exactly this way. It is not such a bad place to be.
As a matter of fact, as KD pointed out by retweeting this earlier today, the Cowboys have a lot of company right now.
After tonight's MNF game, 20 teams will sport 1-1 records, the most teams that split their first two games in league history, per Elias.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2012
That's right. Twenty teams will be tied for the seventh best record, behind six 2-0 teams, with only six 0-2 teams lagging behind. One of the 0-2 teams is the New Orleans Saints. And based upon admittedly very early returns, the toughest division in the NFL right now is the NFC West, which has a combined 6-2 record. The second best, at 5-3? The NFC East.
There are fifteen long weeks left in the season (remember the bye), and a lot of football to be played. Dallas could be in a better position. But it isn't in all that bad a place as it is. And I'm not just pouring Kool Aid here.
A look at the NFC East as a whole after the jump. Plus some outright snarkiness, because I am in the mood for it.
The division was just a couple of points away from being in a four way tie. Unfortunately, one of the most beloved figures for us at BTB, animal rights activist Michael Vick, and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a come-from-behind one point victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Another highly regarded foe, the intelligently countenanced Eli Manning, went all freak show and put up a staggering 510 yards passing, with three touchdowns and three interceptions, in another come from behind win by the New York Giants against the Cowboys' next foe, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the Washington Redskins behind Robert Griffin III (who inspired the newest NFL craze, Griffining, which is now competing with tebowing for most irritatingly imitated celebration), were upset (yes, I said the Redskins were favored) by the St. Louis Rams - another one of those pesky NFC West powerhouses.
So the Cowboys are in the thick of things (not that they could be too far out after two games, but still). The main objective to get to the playoffs, after all, is to win your own division. And Dallas is the only member of the NFC East with a win over a divsion foe. Which also makes the Giants the only one with a loss. (I write that just becasue it cheers me up.)
And things are not getting all that easy for our division rivals. While Dallas had some injuries in the Seattle game, most of them do not look to be serious. The same may not be true for the guys in the East that, uh, are really in the East.
The Giants suffered injuries to some fairly key players. RB Ahmad Bradshaw left the Tampa Bay game with a neck injury. His replacement, Andre Brown, was reported to be seeking medical attention for an unknown issue after the game. RT David Diehl, who was not available against Dallas on opening night, went out again with a knee issue in the first quarter. And WR Domenik Hixon had a concussion after his helmet was ripped off. How long term these issues are is uncertain, but it is very likely that there will be some games missed by one or more of these players.
For the Eagles, it is certain that starting C Jason Kelce is out, at least for a good part of the season, with a torn MCL and a partially torn ACL in his right knee. He is not the only issue on the O line, since OT King Dunlap is day to day with a hamstring (see, they don't just get hurt in Dallas). These kinds of injuries are always crucial, and will likely put more pressure on Vick to use his legs to make things happen. If he gets hurt as a result, then their season is pretty much done. And WR Jeremy Maclin suffered a hip pointer and his status is questionable at this time. plus they have numerous others that are already nicked up but playing through the injury.
And the roof fell in a bit for the Redskins. They lost two of their best defensive players and pass rushers on Sunday. Geico Commercial All Pro LB Brian Orakpo and DE Adam Carriker both are expected to miss the rest of the season. That would be roughly equivalent to Dallas losing DeMarcus Ware and Bruce Carter, folks. S Brandon Meriweather and WR Pierre Garcon both missed the game as well, and may not be back this week.
So there may be reason to not succumb to the doom and gloom that is so prevalent. First off, we have not seen how the Cowboys will respond to this. If they come out and take care of business against the Buccaneers, then we will all feel a lot better. After all, at this point in the season they can control their own destiny. They just have to win, which follows from playing better. We find out in Cowboys Stadium this week.