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Cowboys Need To Close Strong, Not Mediocre Like Past Years Under Jason Garrett

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A look at how previous Cowboys teams under Jason Garrett have closed the season.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a familiar refrain for the Dallas Cowboys under Jason Garrett, go 8-8, lose the last game of the season and miss the playoffs. Of course, if the Cowboys go 8-8 this season the bottom will have fallen out and it would likely be Garrett's last season as the Cowboys head coach. Another familiar charge leveled against the Cowboys is that they don't finish seasons strong. We could go back and look at their history for a decade or more, but let's just take a peek at how they have performed since Garret has had full control over the team for the season.

One meme we always hear is that Dallas collapses in the month of December. There is actually some truth to that.

Year Month Record Month Record
2011 Nov 4-0 Dec 1-4
2012 Nov 2-2 Dec 3-2
2013 Nov 3-1 Dec 1-3

In 2011 and 2013, December was very unkind to Dallas. The Cowboys must not repeat those efforts if they want to end the playoff drought, last making the tournament in 2009. But the records above are arbitrarily broken up by months.

How has Dallas done after 10 games? This year, they are 7-3, better than any previous year under Garrett. In past seasons, they exhibited mediocrity in their final six games of the season.

Year 10-game Record Last 6 Games
2011 6-4 2-4
2012 5-5 3-3
2013 5-5 3-3

Just one more victory in any of those years would have put them in the playoffs. This is what they face down the stretch.

Sun, Nov 23 @ Giants
Thu, Nov 27 vs Eagles
Thu, Dec 4 @ Bears
Sun, Dec 14 @ Eagles
Sun, Dec 21 vs Colts
Sun, Dec 28 @ Redskins

If Dallas goes 3-3 down the stretch again, a prediction I've seen in numerous places, that leaves them at 10-6 on the year. Will that be enough to get in? It depends on which of those games they win. If they sweep the Eagles, then they would likely make it. Otherwise, they will be contending with the Eagles for the NFC East, and a group of other teams chasing them for a wildcard position.

What record do you think the Cowboys need to make the playoffs?