Another final game of the season for the Cowboys means another chance for the Playoffs

Even with the Cowboys sitting at 3-5 or even 5-6 and what seemed like season ending injuries happening every week, they are still in position to win the NFC East title and head into the playoffs. The 8-7 Cowboys are currently preparing for their title match against the rival 9-6 Redskins who beat them back on Thanksgiving, 38-31. It’s very simple for the Cowboys. Beat the Redskins and win the NFC East or lose and go on home until next season. As the Cowboys prepare for their do or die match-up with the Redskins this coming Sunday, it brings back memories of recent seasons when it came down to the last game of the season for the Cowboys.

- Back in 2008 the 9-6 Cowboys traveled to 8-6-1 Philadelphia for the last game of the season. A win would earn the Cowboys a Wildcard spot in the playoffs and send the Eagles home. It didn’t work out for the Cowboys as they were humiliated by the Eagles, 44-6.

- Back in 2009 the 10-5 Cowboys once again traveled to 11-4 Philadelphia for the last game of the season with the NFC East title on the line. The Cowboys bounced back from their horrible loss to the Eagles in 2008 and beat them 24-0 to earn the NFC East title based on head-to-head win percentage vs. the Eagles. The Cowboys would also beat the Eagles in the Wildcard round the next week 34-14.

- Last season it once again came down to the last game of the season with the NFC East title on the line. The 8-7 Cowboys traveled New Jersey to play the 8-7 NY Giants. The Cowboys quickly went down to the Giants 21-0 and ended up losing 31-14. Not only did the Cowboys lose out on another division title, but the loss allowed the Eagles to take over second place in the NFC East and dropped the Cowboys into a third place finish for the season.

So, for the fourth time in the last five seasons the Cowboys have a chance to make the playoffs if they can win the final game of the season. Also, for the third time in the last four seasons the last game of the season will be for the NFC East title.

The Cowboys have won three of the last four games since that Thanksgiving loss to the Redskins. The offensive line has played better as of late which has allowed Tony Romo to play better. Over his last five games Romo has thrown for 1,769 yards, 13 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions. The Cowboys will also have a healthy DeMarco Murray for the Redskins game that they did not have back on Thanksgiving. Dez Bryant, even with a broken finger caught 9 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns in a loss to the Saints last week. The Cowboys offense is as ready as it can be as they look to continue their good play that will hopefully get them into the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Rob Ryan has done everything possible to keep his defense afloat even after season ending injuries to Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff, Barry Church, Orlando Scandrick and Kenyon Coleman. Not to mention players like DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Gerald Sensabaugh who are dealing with injuries. All three are expected to play against the Redskins. There seems to be no quit with this defense as they continue to put new players on the field like Ernie Sims, Michael Coe, Eric Frampton, Sterling Moore, Charlie Peprah and Brady Poppinga.

It once again comes down to the final game of the season for the Cowboys. Will they continue to fight through everything that they have faced this season or will things finally catch up to them? Even though the Cowboys lost to the Redskins a month ago I believe it will help them as they once again have to deal with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. This is the exciting part of football as team’s battle for a chance to get into the playoff tournament where anything can happen.

As far as this Cowboys fan is concerned I see the Cowboys taking care of business against the Redskins on Sunday night, winning the NFC East and then getting themselves ready for a home playoff game against the Seahawks where some payback will be in order.

Surging Cowboys A 3-Point Home Favorite Versus The Saints

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans SaintsThe Dallas Cowboys will look to stay hot and remain in contention for the NFC East title in a Sunday home tilt against the New Orleans Saints.

This week’s NFL odds have the ‘Boys, who are in a three-way tie for the division lead at 8-6, as a 3-point favorite versus the Saints. The over/under is put at 51.5 points.

Dallas has won three straight games and five of its last six to storm back into playoff contention, and all of those wins came in close decisions. Last week, the Cowboys continued the trend by surviving in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24.

The Saints fell out of the playoff hunt with a three-game losing streak, but certainly rose to the occasion a week ago in a 41-0 throttling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

During this latest run, Dallas has seemed to have found its rhythm offensively thanks largely to the return of running back DeMarco Murray from injury and the continued emergence of wide receiver Dez Bryant. Murray finished with 81 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against the Steelers while Bryant, playing with a broken finger, caught four balls for 59 yards with one all-important touchdown.

Dallas has been ravaged by injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but coordinator Rob Ryan has managed to keep the unit competitive during this Cowboys run. They were without six defensive starters against the Steelers, including cornerback Morris Claiborne, who is listed as probable to play against the Saints. The Cowboys rank 15th in total defense and have begun to get timely turnovers, none more so than Brandon Carr’s interception in overtime against the Steelers that set up the winning field goal.

Dallas certainly appears dangerous moving forward, but you have to wonder when all the injuries will become an issue. It could be this week when Drew Brees and company hit town.

This One Hits Home, Who Are We To Judge?

Josh Brent’s appearance in last Sunday’s game has media and fans in an uproar.  My opinion on this subject may surprise many people who know me personally, or it may not. I shared a good friend’s view of the subject matter on our Facebook page on Monday and it got a good share of responses for and against. At first I wasn’t sure about my stance on the situation. In case you’ve been living under a rock for 10 days or just not up on the times let me get you up to date.

Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent and practice squad player Jerry Brown were in a devastating car accident together on December 8th. Brent was driving under the influence of alcohol and wrecked the car, and his best friend Jerry Brown was killed. Brent has been charged with manslaughter. Surprisingly, Brent was spotted on the sidelines of the game on Sunday, Dec. 16 during the home game vs. Pittsburgh.

Now let me share with you my friend Nate Trumble’s status that I posted on Facebook and Twitter the day after the game:

Hey NFL, you trot rapists (Roethlesburger) dog killers (Vick) and murderers (Ray Lewis) out on the field every week. The Cowboys put Josh Brent on the sideline yesterday and you call it disgraceful??? It was his mother’s wish for the team to be with him…To support him…The kid needs family right now and the Cowboys ARE HIS FAMILY!!! It does not send a message to kids that drunk driving is ok…It says his family will support him through this awful tragedy…Brent made a terrible CHOICE…Im not saying what he did wasnt wrong, but some people need to get off their soap-box…It was the Cowboys family supporting one of their own…period…end of rant… – Nate Trumble Current Dallas Cowboys News and Discussion

Many people believe that we are condoning drunk driving. That is not the case at all. We are supporting family and friends and standing behind someone you love and care for in their most desperate time of need. Look, I’ve been on the outside looking in at close family members and friends who chose to drink and drive and had to face the consequences. I don’t drink and am strongly against anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel when they’ve been drinking or doing drugs. I am also a strict law abiding citizen and always follow the rules and believe heavily in karma. Not that I don’t make mistakes, but I always try to make the right and moral decision.

Getting in that car after a night of drinking was the wrong decision for both men. Jerry Brown lost his life [May he rest in peace] and Josh Brent lost his best friend, his career, everything. I want to make it clear that I am not sticking up for Brent. He is clearly guilty and in the wrong and will carry this for the rest of his life and beyond. I’ve read articles that say he will face prison and some say he could get off with probation. But I am not judge nor jury and my opinion is just that, my own. It means nothing. And if you’re a Christian or of a faith that believes in a higher power, you too know that his judgement day will come.

Tonight I read this article on CBS Sports that completely choked me up and provoked me to do something I haven’t done in quite some time, share my feelings here. I would like to share parts of it with you, and encourage you to go read it for yourself. According to this article Josh Brent will not be seen again on the Cowboys sidelines. Ever.

Brent deserves prison, but getting banned from sideline is cruel

Josh Brent won’t be on the sideline Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys’ home finale. Satisfied? That’s what you wanted, right?

That’s what the Cowboys reportedly want — they want Brent banished from the sidelines, hidden from nosy TV cameras and shrieking TV analysts. At least, I hope it’s what the Cowboys want. I hope they’re not merely bowing to pressure from people who don’t matter.

People like you. And me. This whole story is emotional and awful and centered around an issue, drunk driving, that affects many of us — but Josh Brent’s sideline plans aren’t my business. Or yours.

As Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett learned later, Brent was there because he’d been asked to be there by his teammates.

The author goes on to explain what he believes Josh Brent deserves…

For drinking and driving and killing one person and jeopardizing the safety of everyone who shared a road with him that night, Josh Brent deserves to go to prison.

He deserves other things as well. He deserves to be treated humanely, even kindly, especially by those who care about him. Look, few people in this world — Jerry Brown’s parents, but maybe nobody else — lost as much as Josh Brent lost on Dec. 8. He lost his best friend. He killed his best friend. He lost his dream career. He lost his freedom, most likely, after the courts are through with him. He lost his reputation. He lost damn near everything that night, and now we’re going to complain because he’s standing on the sideline a week later with his friends and teammates?

Brent was seen on the sidelines and called out by the game announcers and social media blew up!

The outrage was so loud and moving so fast, Brent heard it on the sideline … and left in the third quarter.

And now he won’t be back. The Cowboys have seen to that, though Brent probably wouldn’t have shown up Sunday against the Saints, not after what happened last weekend. But who knows? Maybe teammates were going to ask him, insist to him, that he come back. They’re closer to the situation than we are, and they know Jerry Brown’s parents would approve. Brown’s parents urged the Cowboys to support Brent in any way they see fit. Whatever Brent needs from the team that employed their son, Brown’s family wants the Cowboys to give it.

Who are we to say it’s wrong?

And here is where I started to choke up. Because he’s right!

I hear the “it sends the wrong message” argument, but think it through. If Josh Brent were on the sideline again Sunday, people would be talking about his story — which means talking about the dangers of drunk driving. That’s a conversation that can save lives. Maybe your kid’s life, years from now, if he were to ask you, “Why does everyone care if that man is on the sidelines?”

You could have told your kid why, and talked about what Josh Brent did Dec. 8. About drinking and driving. About the friend he killed.

And you could have told your kid about Josh Brent’s other friends, the ones supporting him through his lowest moments. That’s a great story, but one that will go untold.

We all have our opinion, and thanks to the internet and social media its broadcast loud and clear. Was Josh Brent’s appearance on the sideline wrong? It’s not really for me to say. I was definitely surprised and initially wasn’t sure what my opinion was about it. When I learned that Jerry Brown’s mother forgave Josh Brent, first I had much respect for her ability to forgive, God knows I probably couldn’t find the strength to find forgiveness that soon. Secondly, I felt pride in my team and their love and support for one of their own. Lastly, I felt sad for the player who would never take that field, would never wear the helmet with that beautiful star again, who’s life was taken way to soon.

Tragedies are way too common for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans. We will get past this one, as we have many others, and go on to enjoy life and the game of football but Jerry and Josh won’t. May God bless their loved ones and be with them both. Let Him be the judge.

Please, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. Go Cowboys!

 

Dallas Cowboys Look to Surprise as a Home Underdog Against Pittsburgh Steelers

Tony RomoOne of the marquee matchups of this week’s NFL slate pits the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road against the Dallas Cowboys. Both of these marquee franchises are fighting to stay in the playoff races of their respective conferences and in desperate need of a victory.

This week’s NFL odds have the Steelers installed as a 1 1/2-point favorite with the over/under pegged at 44 points. Dallas comes in off an emotional last-second victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, while Pittsburgh enters off one of its worse performances of the year in a loss to the San Diego Chargers that also marked the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Cowboys this week continue to deal with the tragic death of Jerry Brown in a car accident over the weekend, which was allegedly caused by teammate Josh Brent driving under the influence. The Dallas organization held a private ceremony to honor Brown Tuesday and Brent was in attendance (at the request of the Brown family) after being released from jail on bail. There was no immediate word on the playing status of Brent. The nose tackle has been one of the Cowboys’ best run-stuffers this season.

The question now is, how much will these developments impact the Cowboys preparation? It obviously has to be a distraction to some extent, and that’s not what you’re looking for heading into the biggest game of the season.

Other bad news out of Dallas is wide receiver Dez Bryant could miss this game and perhaps more because of a fracture to his left index finger. Bryant has emerged the last few weeks as the playmaker the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo have been desperately seeking. If he is out against the Steelers it would be a huge blow to the Cowboys chances.

Dallas will certainly be playing with heavy hearts, but they could be catching the Steelers at just the right time. Roethlisberger looked nowhere near 100 percent against the Chargers last week and the lack of pass-rush from the once-feared Steelers defensive unit is a growing concern. The Cowboys look fully capable of springing a straight-up win as a mild home underdog.

Cowboys Are An Underdog In Key Matchup With Bengals

The Dallas Cowboys travel to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a Week 14 matchup of two potential playoff teams in desperate need of a victory. According to the Week 14 NFL odds, the Bengals are a 3-point favorite with the over/under listed at 45.5 points.

Both these teams sit currently outside the playoff picture in their respective conferences, but very much in the hunt. Dallas (6-6) is one game behind the Seattle Seahawks for the final NFC Wild card berth, while the Bengals are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7-5 for the last spot in the AFC playoffs, but lose the tiebreaker because of their head-to-head loss to the Steelers earlier this year.

Dallas kept its playoff hopes alive last week by escaping the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-33. Quarterback Tony Romo had a big game going 22 of 27 for 303 yards with three touchdowns. The Cowboys also received a boost with the return of DeMarco Murray, who had 83 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in his first game-action in seven weeks. Wide receiver Dez Bryant also had a touchdown to continue his recent emergence as the deep threat the Cowboys crave.

The Bengals enter this as one of the hottest teams in the league having won its last four games, which includes a 20-13 victory on the road against the San Diego Chargers last week. Cincinnati used a balanced attack to beat the Chargers led by the passing combination of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green and the running of BenJarvis Green-Ellis, who carried 25 times for 118 yards in his one of his best games of the season.

This has the potential to be one of the best game’s of this week’s NFL slate when you consider the stakes and the fact both teams come into this feeling good about themselves. With Murray back in the fold and the emergence of Bryant on the outside, the Cowboys could be poised to make a winning run to close out the season. Of course, it remains difficult to have much confidence given the maddening inconsistency Dallas has displayed all season. Look for this one to stay close and be decided by a field goal either way.

Cowboys Need To Get Things In Gear For Playoff Run

The bad news for Dallas Cowboys fans is they lost a critical game against division rivals the Washington Redskins this past Thursday on Thanksgiving.  The good news for them is the fact that the rest of their division does not look that great either, so they still have a shot at the playoffs by the time January rolls around.  With a relatively easy schedule ahead of them a all the opportunity in the world, the Cowboys need to kick it into gear and find a way to start winning games, starting with the Philadelphia Eagles this coming week on Sunday Night Football.

One thing the Cowboys can rest their heads on is the fact that their defense is steadily improving.  While they had a rough go of it this past week against the Skins, the defense held strong in the second half and helped the team get back into the game before blowing it in the final minutes of the game.  If they can keep this consistency throughout the rest of the season, the team just might have a chance at the playoffs.

They will. of course, need a strong outing from their offense as well.  While the beginning of the season was a little rocky for quarterback Tony Romo and company, they have found a way to find a groove midseason and rack up some wins.  Romo spreading the ball around to the right guys in the right moments will surely help the team find their way to victory in the coming weeks.  If they can get this piece of the puzzle in place there is no telling what they can do going forward.

With the NFL odds putting the Cowboys at -9 disadvantage against a beat up Philadelphia Eagles team this week, picking them carries a high risk, high reward type situation.  This game could turn into a blowout but more than likely will not.  Pick this game cautiously.

Another week, another bright side for the Cowboys, maybe!

I’m not about to write something that we as fans don’t already know. The 2012 season has been filled with disappointments when it comes to the Cowboys. Just when fans get a little excited about a Cowboys victory, the Cowboys turn around and lay an egg and fans lose hope again. This week is no different as they prepare for the Eagles Sunday night with their playoff lives on the line…again. It’s another roller coaster season for the Cowboys.

Let’s look at the season up to this point.

Week 1: Up week as the Cowboys beat the defending Super bowl Champion Giants. 1-0

Week 2: Down week as the Cowboys lose to the Seahawks. 1-1

Week 3: Up week as the Cowboys beat the Buccaneers in their home opener. 2-1

Week 4 and 6: Down weeks as the Cowboys lose to the Bears, then to the Ravens after their bye week. 2-3

Week 7: Up week as the Cowboys even their record by beating the Panthers. 3-3

Week 8 and 9: Down weeks as the Cowboys lose to the Giants and then lose to the Falcons. 3-5

Week 10 and 11: Up weeks as the Cowboys beat the Eagles and the Browns. 5-5

Week 12: Down week as the Cowboys lose to the Redskins. 5-6

Up and down, up and down just like a roller coaster. Just when we think the Cowboys  are going to make a move there is another dip in their season. It’s almost as if the Cowboys can’t over the hump and make a move. Whatever the reasons are it seems to be a constant in recent years.

That brings us to Week 13 against the Eagles. If the trend stands true then the Cowboys will win and get to 6-6. Now even before the Cowboys take the field Sunday night against the Eagles, the Cowboys may be looking at another bright side to their season. Look at the teams ahead of them right now in the playoff race. The Seahawks, the Buccaneers and the Vikings are all 6-5. If those teams all lose Sunday, then they will drop to 6-6. The Seahawks play at the Bears, the Bucs play at the Broncos and the Vikings play at the Packers. If they all lose and they could, it would benefit the Cowboys of course. Provided the Cowboys take care of their own business against the Eagles and let’s face it the Cowboys never do anything the easy way.

The Redskins and the Saints are both 5-6 along with the Cowboys. The Redskins play the Giants on Monday night and the Saints play at the Falcons on Thursday night. If they lose then its good news for the Cowboys, but if they both win it still won’t be bad news as long as the Cowboys take care of business against the Eagles because the Cowboys still have games against the Saints and the Redskins this season.

1. Falcons, 10-1

2. 49ers, 8-2-1

3. Bears, 8-3

4. Giants, 7-4

5. Packers, 7-4

6. Seahawks, 6-5

7. Buccaneers, 6-5

8. Vikings, 6-5

9. Redskins, 5-6

10. Cowboys 5-6

11. Saints, 5-6

Sooooo. My point is that this week could be one of those bright side weeks for the Cowboys and for their fans to believe that they could still make a playoff run in 2012 provided they win. Of course if they beat the Eagles and fans become hopeful again, then following the trend, the next game against the Bengals will be a down a week. At this point nothing should be a shock to Cowboys fans.

As far as this Cowboys fan is concerned I HATE roller coasters and can do without the wild ride year after year because at this point I’m very close to throwing up!!

Happy Thanksgiving From LSS!

On behalf of everyone at Lone Star Struck, we would like to thank all of our wonderful readers and contributors for all of their amazing support over the years.

It’s always such an enormous pleasure to share our opinions and interact with the number one football fans in the world!

We also want to thank and remember all of our brave men and women who continue to serve our country and defend the American way of life. Our thoughts are always with you, and we honor your incredible courage and commitment to protecting our freedom.

Thanksgiving and Dallas Cowboys football has always been a great American tradition that sets us apart from all the other NFL teams. Here’s to a great game today as we take on the Washington Redskins.

Today is all about family, friends, great food and Dallas Cowboys football baby!

From all of us, to all of you… 

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

turkeystars

Cowboys Face Crucial Stretch of Season

Usually by this point in the season, the Dallas Cowboys know who they are. You already know if the late game on Thanksgiving is one that’s worth watching, or one that’s only worth having on in the background while you spend time with your family. This year though, the 5-5 Cowboys are mystifying, which is going to make this battle on the NFL odds against the Washington Redskins all the more intriguing.

Which Dallas team is going to take the field on Thursday? Is it the team that was dominated by the Seattle Seahawks in a 27-7 romp? Or the one that beat up the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium to start the year?

Of course, the answer could very well be both as well. Take last week, for example. The Cowboys were hideous in the first half against the Cleveland Browns. In the second half, they stormed back from a 13-0 deficit to force the game into overtime, where the Cowboys would eventually win the game. Dallas was in the same type of situation against the Giants a month ago. The team was a wreck offensively to start, and QB Tony Romo ended up throwing for over 400 yards in the game and was literally a few inches away from pulling out the game in the end.

Dallas has played six teams (seven games) this year against teams that are above .500, giving it one of the toughest schedules in the game. The club is just 2-5 SU and 2-5 ATS in those seven games. Against the rest of the league, the Cowboys are 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS.

Up next are three teams that are at or below .500 and are likely going to stay that way for the rest of the year, and the first two are going to be played here in Arlington.

Dallas is -3 ½ on Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins, and it should be favored next week against the Philadelphia Eagles as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Resurgent Cowboys Are Heavy Favorites At Home Over Cleveland

What appeared to be a season on the road to nowhere for the Dallas Cowboys took a drastic turn Sunday when they went to Philadelphia and dispatched of the Eagles. Suddenly, the once-reeling Cowboys find themselves just 1 1/2-games behind the sliding New York Giants in the NFC East with the hapless Cleveland Browns coming to town in Week 11.

The NFL odds have the Cowboys (4-5) listed as a comfortable 7 1/2-point home favorite over the Browns (2-7). The over/under is installed at 43.5 points.

Dallas had lost four of its previous five games prior to beating the Eagles, largely because of too many turnovers with a healthy dose of mental miscues. Those negatives were nowhere to be found against Philadelphia, however. In fact, it was a second straight week without a turnover for Dallas after being among the league’s worse in turnover ratio (minus-11) during their 3-5 start.

The Dallas resurgence has been strongly aided by its defense. The Cowboys rank No. 8 in total defense and are No. 7 against the pass in the NFL. If those trends continue—and the offensive turnovers continue to stabilize—Dallas could prove a tough customer moving forward.

Quarterback Tony Romo was effectively efficient against the Eagles Sunday, completing 19 of 26 passes for 209 yards including a touchdown to Dez Bryant. In the backfield, Dallas will again be without No. 1 running back DeMarco Murray against the Browns. However, Felix Jones is coming off perhaps his best game of the year against the Eagles and reports out of Dallas are he enters the Cleveland game as healthy as he’s been all season.

Dallas has a relatively easy remaining schedule and look poised to make a run at the Giants for NFC East. In fact, two wins over the next two weeks would put Dallas in a tie with the Giants, who are off in Week 11. The young Browns are 0-4 on the road this season and look to be in a tough spot considering the good vibes coming out of Dallas. Look for the Cowboys to continue their mid-season run and cover the 7.5-point spread.

The Coalter Report: Dallas vs. Eagles

What Went Right

            We won. The Dallas Cowboys went to Eagles territory and came home with a much needed win. Dez Bryant had a solid game with a clutch “touchdown.” Despite the fact that the laces rolled, I will still take the chance to mention around the Eagles fans I see. Jones showed up and showed some explosiveness and ability to make the first guy miss. Witten once again was Romo’s plan B, and had some solid blocks that set the edge for our running backs. Brandon Carr shut down Desean Jackson and Maclin, when they were his responsibility. Ratliff put the pressure on Foles in the forth like a Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny. Bruce Carter dominated the Eagles backfield, wrapping McCoy up in hugs all game long.

What Went Wrong

            The offensive line are still having issues with the players lining up opposite of them. They are less like quarterback protective walls, and more like Wal-Mart door greeters. Clairborne was literally holding on to dear life as Eagle receivers flashed by him. His holding penalties did not end up costing them the game, but I doubt it will go unnoticed by Rob Ryan this week.

Final Thoughts

            Well a win is a win, any way you look at it. We did not play perfect, but we played better than the opponent and that’s all we have to do week in and week out to be successful. As the Browns come to town, look for the matchup between Joe Thomas and Demarcus Ware. Thomas is about as good a lineman as Cleveland has ever had, and he is going up against the premiere pass rusher in the NFL. Also, watch for Romo to dial up Austin and Bryants number for some deep balls, as the Cleveland secondary is full of holes without Haden.