On the second day of this year we talked about how 2017 really was just 2008 all over again for the Dallas Cowboys. The similarities are spooky.
If that were the case then 2018 would be to these Cowboys as 2009 was to those, right? This team should win 11 games (meaning they won’t lose another!) and earn a playoff victory, right? That’s definitely happening, right?
In that January post one of the connections I made was how their was a falling out with the team’s top receiver. That was written before Dez Bryant was released by the Cowboys, but that happening followed suit with Terrell Owens getting cut by the team as well. I’m telling you, we basically lived 2008 all over again.
Something else of note here is that the Cowboys are seeing in 2018 an emergence from a wide receiver that wears number 19 (Amari Cooper) just like they did in 2009 (Miles Austin). Dallas is also flying at top speed into a battle against the New Orleans Saints that are dominating the NFL just like they did nine years ago. As it’s been said many times this week, the Cowboys won that game and it continues to be one of their more impressive victories this century.
What does all of this mean ultimately? Are the Cowboys going to shock the world again because everything else is mirroring exactly the way it did nine years ago? I don’t know, but I like the way it makes me feel (the best Michael Jackson song, by the way) which is quite bold. Welcome to BTB’s five bold predictions. My lonely days are gone.
Amari Cooper replicates Miles Austin’s stat line from the 2009 game against New Orleans
What kind of party would this be if we didn’t keep up the good vibes connecting this game to the 2009 one? Not a very good one, that’s what kind.
When the Cowboys visited New Orleans on that fateful December night we saw Miles Austin haul in seven catches to the tune of 139 yards and a touchdown. That’s what Amari Cooper is going to do on Thursday night. That exact stat line. He’s going to have that exact production.
How much would that scare you if it really happened, though? In keeping with the strange coincidences connecting where we are to where we were almost a decade ago, we might have to all shelter up in a bunker if this one comes true.
The first half will end on a Brett Maher field goal from at least 40 yards out
Looking at how the Cowboys have fared this season when they’ve deferred is really interesting, and it’s something that many fans have been screaming for them to do for ages now.
The famous “double dip” becomes possible when you defer, the function of scoring at the end of the first half and then getting the ball immediately to begin the second. Those points are more valuable, especially in a psychological sense, as they allow you to put two possessions’ worth of scores onto the scoreboard. Obviously you’d prefer that those are touchdowns.
Dallas is going to get the ball back with just north of a minute left in the first half. They’ll be set to receive the second-half opening kickoff and things will culminate in a Maher make from over 40 yards out. Book it.
Jeff Heath will force a fumble in the redzone
This season, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has made his run at the GOAT title. He probably won’t ever be in serious consideration given other quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but in all reality he won’t be because Jeff Heath exists.
There’s no denying that this is a big game. We all know that. There’s no science to support this notion but it remains a tale as old as time... Jeff Heath shows up in games like this.
“When we’re all sitting on rocking chairs a long time from now reflecting back on all this stuff, I’m gonna have this image of Jeff Heath, flying through the air, and knocking that f***ing ball loose!” (h/t Inside The NFL) pic.twitter.com/NgAelOyne2— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) December 21, 2017
Who could forget the interception and sack against Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs two years ago (sigh)? What about when he flew threw the air to single-handedly destroy Derek Carr’s functionalities as a football player and win the game in Oakland? Or how about just a few weeks ago on the fake punt in Philadelphia?
When the light burns brightest Jeff Heath is at his GOATiest. It is decided.
Damien Wilson will intercept Drew Brees
Brees threw just his second interception of the season last week against Atlanta, but the last time he visited AT&T Stadium saw him hit the opposing team’s hands as well.
While the 2009 matchup between Dallas and New Orleans has been mentioned a ton this week the 2014 game featuring them both was fantastic as well. It was during that game that Justin Durant picked off Drew Brees and in this one it’s going to be Damien Wilson.
Dallas has Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch leading the way at linebacker, but Wilson has had his fair share of moments this season. After a tipped pass sends the ball into the air it’s going to be Damien that comes down with it. Hooray.
The Cowboys will attempt a surprise onside kick
Two weeks ago when the Saints destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles (the worst loss ever by a defending Super Bowl champion, basically the Eagles are literally the worst team to ever win it all) it felt personal for Sean Payton. It was weird.
Payton’s “let’s humiliate them” mentality was weird because it seemed like vengeance for what happened in the playoffs a season ago... but it was the Minnesota Vikings that bounced New Orleans out of the tournament, not the Eagles. Perhaps Payton was just upset that the Eagles won what he felt was rightfully the Big Easy’s.
Call it being a prisoner of the moment but it feels like the Cowboys are really up for this game, at least DeMarcus Lawrence is. In a contest where points are going to be more valuable than ever it would make sense for even the most conservative coach to try and steal some. How’s about Jason Garrett does it with Sean Payton’s signature move from Super Bowl XLIV?
Remember, they don’t call them “totally normal and expected” predictions.