In the aftermath of last week’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys saw their head coach and players all commit to playing this week against the Philadelphia Eagles in a game which the Cowboys enter as a seven-point favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
The reason that “playing” is even a debate is because when Dallas and Philly meet on Saturday night there is relatively little that each can gain with a win. Being literal here, the Cowboys can gain more and could technically climb as high as the two seed if Sunday produces the right set of results, but injecting a sense of practicality here, it is unlikely that Dallas enters the playoffs as anything other than the four seed in the NFC.
But, again, the Cowboys lost last week and did so to a team who is also headed to the playoffs and who, incidentally, might be the first team that Dallas matches up with in the postseason. The need to rectify the wrong is there and to enter the playoffs with some momentum, it’s the same feeling that we have all had in the driveway when winding down shooting hoops. You can’t go inside with your last shot being a miss, you have to hit a three.
Judging by SB Nation Reacts data from this past week most Cowboys fans were rather started by the loss to Arizona. Losing in general is not fun and the feeling that has washed over us after losing to the Cardinals specifically is that this team can’t contend with any actually legitimate teams, but the Super Bowl cannot be won on Saturday night in Philadelphia.
Many people’s point as to why Dallas has to play on Saturday night in full is that positive momentum must be acquired. This group of people says that you can’t enter the playoffs with your last legitimate performance being what you put forth against Arizona.
That’s fine. And true! It is un-ideal; however, what if you don’t get the exact result you are looking for here? What if you play to win (against a Philly team that likely isn’t by the way) and look like a mess and don’t get back on track? Have you suddenly gained negative momentum?
None of this is being said to advise the Cowboys to operate out of fear. They should commit to one philosophy while not emotionally compromised (so perhaps not in the immediate moments after a loss) and stick to it through the game.
But think about how much life we have all lived over the last year. Think about every seismic event in your life since the Cowboys lost to the New York Giants in Week 17 last year. It takes forever to get to this spot and to even do so you have to have success as a football team. Dallas is on the cusp of the tournament and to wager their viability during it for a pointless win for style points seems rather irresponsible.
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