What a big win yesterday for the ol’ Cowboys, right? Yee-haw! Squaring off against a dreaded, hated conference rival on that rival’s dreary Yankee-ass home turf with the rest of the season on the line and the Cowboys-hating public just salivating for a silver-and-blue implosion? A huge victory and a lopsided one to boot: 38-23. The Cowboys (4-5) simply had to win to remain in the playoff hunt, and with the NFC East-leading Giants (6-4) playing horribly, on an 0-2 skid that should be 0-3, there’s a good-to-decent chance that the Ginger Jesus and company will –– after a terrible October (1-3) –– squeak into the playoffs. But don’t book that Bourbon Street hotel just yet.
In fact, the NFC East –– the highest-profile and most lucrative conference in the league –– is so horrible that an NFC East’r might have to reach only nine wins by the end of the season to earn a trip to the big dance. The ’pokes have just put behind them the toughest schedule in the league, from a win-loss-record standpoint, and are now set to cruise into the weakest schedule. On the chopping block are the hapless Cle Browns (2-7), the worsening Washington Redskins (3-6), and the demoralized, quarterback-less Eagles (3-6), all at JerryWorld. Cowboys fans have good reason to be cheery. Now for the $64,000 question: Would the Cowboys deserve to be in the playoffs?
History tells us yes. A handful of teams that ended their seasons with equally crappy records have gone on to win Super Bowls. Exhibit A: Last year’s New York Giants. But how far do we think the 2012 Cowboys would go into the playoffs? History tells us not very far.
The Cowboys’ last playoff victory was in 2009 against the Birds, which was followed by a resounding 34-3 loss to the Vikings. Before that 2009 win, the last playoff game the Cowboys won was in *gulp* 1996. Kids who were born back then can operate motor vehicles legally now. That’s a long time for the New York Yankees of the NFL to go without accomplishing absolutely anything. Zero.
Also holding back the Cowboys are … the Cowboys. You’ve seen this team play. You may have even watched every snap this year. Tell me, is this the kind of team that can come through in the clutch, manufacturing points out of thin air or stifling opposing offenses? We all know the answer: No. You remember last week, right? Wasn’t that long ago. Just seven days. When the Cowboys’ defense had two golden opportunities to stop Atlanta’s offense in the crucial final moments of the game but came up short. Oh, you say, but the Cowboys had two defensive touchdowns last week. Yeah, those points were that unit’s first scores in probably 20 years –– as my dear friend Ken always says, “Sometimes even a blind squirrel gets a nut,” and the blind squirrel that was the Cowboys last week was surrounded by a nutty team that seemed to be trying to lose.
The 2012 Cowboys simply aren’t that good, and Tony Romo has never been more inaccurate. He’s 20th in the league in overall passing rating (85.2), a number he’s probably never seen in his entire career. Yes, he’s “Mr. November” (20-3), and, yes, he’s got some creampuffs coming up, but who knows how he’ll acquit himself looking the No. 1 ranked Steelers defense in the mouth come Sunday, Dec. 16, or, say, the Bears’ or Giants’ vaunted defenses in January. He’s 11-21 in December and January.
In other words, if you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, you may want to avoid the weekend of February 3rd, 2013.
That city’s gonna be lousy with 49ers and Texans fans.