Why does everyone keep putting the Dallas Cowboys on a pedestal? When were the 2009 Cowboys ever supposed to be a 12-4 team? As far as I'm concerned they were a 9-7 to 11-5 borderline wild card team all season.
Take a look at how their season has played out; they lost week 2 to the Giants, week 4 to the Broncos, and entered their bye week 3-2. In what world do you live in where a 3-2 team should be expected to go 12-4 and win their division.
Now I understand the Cowboys were 4-1 in November, and 8-3 heading into last weeks game with the Giants, but take a look at their schedule. Outside of a good win over Philadelphia, the Cowboys beat the Seahawks, Redskins (barely), and Raiders, while losing to the Packers in November. What that tells me is that the Cowboys are a good team that can beat the bad teams, and split the games against the good teams.
i.e a 9-7 to 11-5 borderline wild card team.
After their Oakland win, the Cowboys ran into back to back losses against the Giants and Chargers, and now all of a sudden the Cowboys are victims of "December woes" once again.
Let's be fair though. The Cowboys lost to the New York Giants, and San Diego Chargers. The Giants have the NFC's longest playoff appearance streak going, and the Chargers are an elite team in the NFL. Given that the Cowboys had a loss to the Giants in Dallas earlier in the season, it's hard to expect a win in New Jersey later in the season. As for the Chargers, how could you really get on a team for losing to the Chargers who are now the hottest team in the NFL?
The Cowboys have five losses on the season thus far; two to the Giants, and one to the Packers, Broncos, and Chargers respectively. What do all five of those teams have in common? They'll all probably be in the playoffs this January.
The Cowboys eight wins? They were against Tampa, Carolina, Kansas City, Atlanta, Seattle, Philly, Washington,and Oakland. Tampa, KC, Seattle, Washington, and Oakland are all awful. Atlanta and Carolina are good teams trapped in bad years, and the Philly win sits as the Cowboys lone impressive victory of 2009.
i.e the Cowboys are a 9-7 to 11-5 borderline wild card team. They can't beat very good teams, can occasionally beat good teams, and will always beat the bad teams. They're no different than the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC.
A lot of people are naturally going to point to Tony Romo and say "he can't win the big game" or "typical FCS QB, never played a meaningful game in his life so he doesn't know how to win one." And while some of that is true (QB's from non-major conference schools traditionally do struggle more than QB's from major conference schools. Though that may have something to do with the fact that QB's from major conference schools are often more talented than those from small conference or FCS schools, hence the recruitment to a major conference school), if you watch how the Cowboys play it's not all Romo's fault. I'm not gonna let number 9 off the hook though, he could be making better plays. Let's be honest, if this were Peyton, Brett, Donovan, or Eli, we'd be throwing every cliche known to Patrick Ewing at them.
Is some of the blame to be thrown Wade Phillips way? Sure. I mean, we don't need to get into all that, it's pretty obvious that Phillips never should have been hired to be the head coach of this team to begin with.
And therein lies the problem. Who is doing the hiring for this team?
That would be Jerry Jones. The guy who let Sean Payton go. The guy who hired Wade Phillips over Tony Sparano. The guy who made the Roy Williams trade. The guy who brought in Tank Williams and Pacman Jones. The guy who couldn't shine Al Davis' shoes in terms of understanding the game and how to win it.
Jerry Jones is the problem. Not December. Not Tony Romo. Not Wade Phillips. Jones has compiled a roster that is pretty talented, but not great. Are the Cowboys a top 15 team talent wise? Yes. Top 10? Probably not. But Jones, the media-whore he is, attracts the attention to this team that puts them on the same level with rosters more talented such as the Chargers, and thus, sets his team up for monumental failure when they don't reach the Super Bowl.
And all this time they lead us to believe it was T.O.
If Dallas lose to New Orleans this week their 2009 season is likely over. They follow that up with @ Washington, and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Giants final three are @ Washington, Carolina, and @ Minnesota. An important thing to note about the Giants week 17 game is that the Vikings will likely have the #2 seed wrapped up, therefore Brett Favre will definitely be resting up and not facing Tuck and Osi.
So the Cowboys 2009 is on the line this week in New Orleans. If they lose, they'll finish the season with nothing but losses to playoff teams. If they win, they'll be in the playoffs. But remember one thing, the Cowboys aren't supposed to win this game. They're less talented than the Saints, the Saints have a better coach, the Saints have a better Quarterback, and the Saints are at home.
It has nothing to do with the month of the year.