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.