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!

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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.

A win is a win, but we’ve been down this road before with the Cowboys

The Cowboys earned an important division win on the road against the rival Eagles yesterday. It may have also been a victory that saved their 2012 season as they move forward. The Cowboys currently sit at 4-5 and in second place with five of their final seven games at home. Not to mention that they don’t have to go on the road for the next month with the Browns, Redskins and Eagles next up before a trip to Cincinnati in mid-December.

Although it was a nice win against the Eagles, I’m not about to get all warm and fuzzy considering how the Cowboys have been playing and their history of losing in December. Let’s not forgot that the game yesterday was 17-17 going into the fourth quarter. If not for Dwayne Harris’ punt return and Brandon Carr’s interception return this game could have gone either way. These Cowboys teams have let us fans down way too many times for me to get all excited because they finally broke a two game losing streak. If they are the truly the team that they keep telling everyone that they are then they will take advantage of the situation that is in front of them get on a roll now.

What bothers me is that once again the Cowboys committed 13 penalties yesterday. Many were offside penalties from the defense on third down that allowed the Eagles to keep their drive going. Morris Claiborne had his worst game in his short career, but he is a rookie and is going to have some growing pains. These are things that can be corrected which are good signs for the defense. One the positives coming out of yesterday’s win is how Bruce Carter is growing into an elite middle linebacker. He has taken control of the defense with Sean Lee out and has shown what kind of player and leader he can be for the Cowboys.

On offense it’s another story. I heard this description of this Cowboys offense yesterday. It was called a “Grab Bag” offense, which fits them perfectly. This unit, led by Jason Garrett has no identity at all. They don’t know if they are a running offense, passing offense or even somewhere in the middle. It just seems as though Garrett uses his play sheet as a grab bag during the game. Before every snap he reaches into the bag and whatever he pulls out is what they run. It has created issues all season for the Cowboys offense and will continue to cause issues as the season moves on unless something is done. Maybe things will improve once DeMarco Murray returns from his foot injury, which is hopefully very soon. Although Felix Jones did play a very nice game yesterday, he still needs to prove he can do those things week after week. Tony Romo’s security blanket continues to be Jason Witten with eight receptions against the Eagles. Romo needs to open it up more with his other receivers and bring this offense to another level, but that in the hands of Garrett as he struggles with an identity for this Cowboys offense.

The time is now for Garrett to decide what he wants to do with this offense. If he wants it to be a pass first offense then he needs to start getting more creative with his offensive weapons. Start creating more plays for Cole Beasley in the slot. Maybe more plays for Romo to roll-out to create something down field. If Garrett wants to run the ball first then he needs to start using Lawrence Vickers more. He has proven that he is a quality fullback and can lead the other runners to daylight. I think the problem is that Garrett doesn’t know how to put his offensive players into position to have success.

With the win over the Eagles yesterday and with the Giants struggling, the Cowboys have a great opportunity to make a move and possibly make a run at the division title. The question is can they correct the things like penalties, poor tackling and lack of identity so that they can take advantage of the situation that’s in front of them? The defense is going to continue to improve. I have no doubt about that. It’s the offense that worries me. Even with how bad they have been playing recently they have a golden opportunity to make something of their season. I’ll be watching, but will hold off on the warm and fuzzies for a while until I see some changes, especially from Garrett and his grab bag offense.

 

Happy Veteran’s Day: Today We Honor the True Heroes

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On behalf of everyone at Lone Star Struck we would like to take some time to remember and honor all of our brave servicemen and women that have served and continue to serve our great country.

Each Veteran’s Day we have an opportunity to recognize the all amazing men and women who make up the greatest military in the world. They faithfully protect our borders and our freedom and our way of life.

God Bless all of you for your unwavering loyalty, patriotism, strength, and courage.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

 

Cowboys Need To Figure Things Out On Offense

Contrary to what everyone was saying at the beginning of the season, this is not the Cowboys year to win the Super Bowl.

After a massive win against the New York Giants in the first week of the season, the Cowboys took a quick fall and have lost four of their last five games.

While their defense has stayed relatively consistent throughout the year, their offense needs to get on track if they want to start winning games.

The biggest problem with their offense this year is their discipline.  They have dropped multiple passes throughout the year that could have helped the team pick up much needed wins.

Dez Bryant arguing with an official made it so the Cowboys did not have enough time to get into field goal position to win the game against the Baltimore Ravens.

On a Monday Night Football game earlier in the season, Tony Romo threw five interceptions to the Bears defense.

Basically, no matter what the Cowboys do during a game, they find ways to blow it and ensure they do not come out with a win.

They need to cut down on turnovers and penalties if they want to get a win this week against division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.  If they cannot do this, the Eagles defense will surely walk all over them.  If they can, the Cowboys not only have a good chance with the NFL odds that have them at +2.5, but they will have a great chance of winning the game.

The Cowboys need a win big time this week if they want to have a chance of making the playoffs this year.  If they cannot start turning their season around, there will surely be some releases coming soon on the teams coaching staff.  A team of this caliber should be winning much more than it has been.

The Coalter Report: Dallas vs. Falcons

What Went Right

The defense once again was solid this week. Ware got pressure constantly and made sure to leave Matt Ryan’s face print onto the field before the game was over.  Ratliff showed signs of him old self and until his injury, he was walling off the middle to Michael Turner and charging into the pocket consistently.  McCray has shown that he may be a legitimate option to start. If nothing else, he is definitely exceeding the expectations set for an un-drafted free agent.

                On offense Ogletree is finally following up his season opener performance with a solid game. He showed athletic ability on his touchdown grab. Witten, to no surprise, surpassed Irvin’s record for franchise receptions, and was Romo’s security blanket throughout the night. Cole Beasley finally found himself in the action, and made a decent reception.

What Went Wrong

                Play calling was, in my opinion, the greatest handicap on this offense. Garrett seemed to have put training wheels on his nine year veteran quarterback, not allowing him many opportunities for deep throws and big plays. I do not see how calling a conservative game plan with this team, would ever put them above the Falcons electrifying play-makers.

                The offensive line struggled once again with penalties and pass rushers. It seems like this “rebuilt” offensive line, may not be the upgrade Jerry Jones had in mind, but more of a lateral move. Our interior still can’t push defenders out of the way, and the edge blockers give up too many sacks and drive killing penalties.

Next Week’s Focus

                I feel like the focus of next week’s game should be on the play of our offensive line, and the offensive play calling. We should hope to see our big men pushing the Eagles D-line like they’re on skates, as well as giving Tony Romo enough time to check down through his receiver’s. With Jerry Jones wanting big plays, we should see Jason Garrett dial up Dez Bryant’s number a few more times, answering with a touchdown or two.

Dallas Cowboys Face Another Tough Test Against Atlanta Falcons

The Dallas Cowboys season of disappointment continued Sunday with a gut-wrenching 29-24 defeat to the New York Giants. Now, the 3-4 Cowboys must regroup for a tough road match-up against the  undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

Dallas is pegged as a 4-point underdog against the Falcons with the over/under listed at 47.5, according to this week’s NFL odds. Atlanta, which sports a 5-2 record against the spread this season, is coming off a sharp 30-17 win over the Eagles as 3-point road underdogs.

Dallas has seemingly found a new way to lose in each of their four losses and Sunday was no exception. This time it was a flurry of early turnovers that dug the Cowboys into a 23-0 hole that they could never overcome.

Except for the turnovers, the Cowboys may have outplayed their division rival Sunday. The Giants were limited to just 11 first downs and 293 yards by a stout Cowboys defense, while Dallas mustered 28 first downs and 434 total yards.

The Cowboys should be encouraged by the continued improvement of Rob Ryan’s defensive unit as well as the increased production of pass-catchers Jason Witten and Miles Austin. Witten had a career day against the Giants. He set a new NFL record for tight ends with 18 receptions, which accounted for 167 yards.

For the Cowboys to be successful against the Falcons, their No. 3-ranked pass-coverage unit will have to play like it and slow down quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons aerial attack. Additionally, the Cowboys may need to run the ball more to take advantage of a Falcons rush defense that is highly suspect at this point.

It would be a big boost if No. 1 running back DeMarco Murray returns from injury for the Cowboys, but as of mid-week his status remained uncertain for the Falcons.

This marks the halfway point of the season for the Cowboys and another loss would be a huge blow to their playoff chances. There are some potentially good match-ups for the Cowboys in this one, but it is still difficult as a bettor to support a team that continues to be so mistake prone.