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Cowboys win over Seattle leaves open questions about contender status

The Seattle win didn’t happen how we wanted, but that it happened is what is most important.

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

With Thursday night’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Dallas Cowboys finally beat a winning team and took a big step toward cementing their playoff spot. But while a win’s a win, we’re left with just as many questions as before about how Dallas will fare against the NFL elite.

Even before their recent slump when they were 5-2, Seattle was a second-tier NFC team at best. They have since gone 1-4 and haven’t looked like a playoff team in the process. They were blown out by Baltimore and San Francisco, beaten by the sub-500 Rams, and barely won against Washington.

Now, on the road against the Cowboys, the Seahawks had one of their best games all year. Geno Smith and DK Metcalf had their way with Dallas’ secondary most of the night. While Dallas gutted out the win with a few critical stops and another DaRon Bland interception, it took everything they had to escape victorious.

Seattle was desperate, sure. And the Cowboys may have been a little sleepy between their recent blowout wins and looking ahead to the Eagles in Week 14. This one had heavy trap game potential and Dallas nearly fell victim to it.

But the whole “trap” argument is an easy write-off that excuses Dallas allowing a seemingly inferior team to nearly embarrass them. And after what the 49ers did to the Cowboys earlier this year, Dallas still has to prove that they can show up and compete against the better teams in the league.

The narrow loss in Philadelphia a month ago isn’t enough. Yes, it was good to see Dallas take the Eagles down to the wire. But that’s a division rival; those games rarely go according to the on-paper matchups. They’re rarely a good barometer of who a team really is.

The Cowboys are missing those more objective, statement-making wins. And while finding a way to fight off the Seahawks and improve to 9-3 was impressive in one sense, Dallas made a team that most had written off look good again. More specifically, Dan Quinn’s defense nearly let a pedestrian offense run them out of their own stadium.

Thankfully, Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Jake Ferguson didn’t allow that to happen. And as the Eagles themselves have shown many times this year, ugly wins are their own form of fortitude. Give Mike McCarthy and the entire team credit for not folding in what was starting to look like a classic flop.

Maybe this one will serve Dallas well as they get 10 days rest before the rematch with Philly. If the Giants, Panthers, and Commanders had lulled the Cowboys into a false sense of their own greatness, Seattle reminded them that they’re far from a juggernaut. Dallas still has to prove that they belong in the conversation with the Eagles, 49ers, and Lions. Dominating the Seahawks wouldn’t have sealed the deal, but it would’ve been a far better testimony than the near disaster we saw.

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