The 2014 season for the Dallas Cowboys honestly feels both like yesterday and a million years ago. That’s rational in my mind, maybe yours, who knows.
Four years ago we were treated to some big wins, unforgettable moments, and the first NFC East title in the Jason Garrett era. We won’t get into how that season ended because that definitely feels like a million years ago because of how much we have gotten into it.
Getting back on track, that season got a bit rocky for the Cowboys at this time of year. Entering Thanksgiving they were coming off of a Sunday Night Football thrilling victory in New York (the Odell Beckham Jr. catch game) and proceeded to get wrecked by the Philadelphia Eagles while the only birds carved were the ones on our dinner tables.
Dallas and Philadelphia entered the game on Thanksgiving both having 8-3 records. As mentioned the Cowboys lost to the Eagles, a Mark Sanchez-led Eagles team at that. Coincidentally he could actually be on the other side of the field from them this Thanksgiving as the Washington Redskins are bringing him in for a workout.
The Cowboys wound up winning in Chicago seven days later on Thursday Night Football and propelled themselves on quite the run. They went to Philadelphia the next Sunday in a game that would eventually decide who won the NFC East. You remember it. The Dez Bryant three touchdown game. It was incredible.
One week after the Philly game the Cowboys hosted the Indianapolis Colts. Thanks to an Eagles loss to the Washington Redskins the Saturday before Dallas knew going into it that they were a win away from an NFC East title. They won, it was great, fun times.
Things are kind of heading in the exact same direction for the 2018 Cowboys
It’s kind of hard to figure out which two teams are really going to duke it out for the NFC East title this season. Obviously the Washington Redskins (6-4) currently lead it, but without Alex Smith it’s hard to see how they can legitimately pull this off. Of course, last season was the season of Nick Foles in Philadelphia so anything is possible.
Dallas (5-5) is obviously a contender, but what about Philly (4-6) themselves? They’re only a game behind the Cowboys and while they did just suffer the worst loss that any defending Super Bowl Champion ever has on Sunday (it was great) it would be foolish to count them out, especially given their upcoming schedule.
Over the next two weeks both the Cowboys and Eagles will host the Colt McCoy-led Redskins. Let’s just say that’s a win for both teams. Right? Right.
The other game for each team look like polar opposites in terms of difficulty. The Cowboys will host the New Orleans Saints seven days after Thanksgiving and the Philadelphia Eagles will host the New York Giants this Sunday. Conventional wisdom would suggest that’s a loss for the Cowboys and win for the Eagles. This is all hypothetical, stay calm, but it’s very conceivable.
Say all of this happened. Both the Cowboys and Eagles would be 6-6 with Philadelphia heading to Dallas for a December 9th matchup in Week 14 that would very closely mirror the situation from when they met on December 14th, 2014. The winner would take their step forward while the loser would need more help over the season’s final weeks.
Let’s continue saying things happened and let’s say the Cowboys won. They’d be 7-6, with the tiebreaker over Philadelphia fully intact, heading to Indianapolis of all places. A win against the Colts coupled with an Eagles loss later that day (they visit the Los Angeles Rams on SNF... Sean McVay was on the Redskins that beat the Eagles in 2014 if you want a common denominator) would win the NFC East. How insane is that?
A lot has to happen between now and then for all of this to reach fruition and one unexpected win or loss by any team would drastically influence this one particular hypothetical result. It is absolutely worth noting though that this is very plausible.
If, a huge if these days, the Eagles are able to rally during this stretch of three straight division games then we’re going to have some sleepless nights near Christmas. Should they win their next two while the Cowboys drop one that December 9th game is going to be massive. Thankfully, just like four years ago, the Cowboys will have the mini bye coming off of TNF to prepare for it.
We’re in for a fun ride.