I’m curious about the Dallas Cowboys as we get set to kick off wild card weekend tomorrow in the NFL.
Since we saw them head down to New Orleans and pull off an upset of the Saints in the Superdome, Wade Phillips’ team has played like a playoff team — a good playoff team. Last week’s 24-0 win over Philly to win the NFC East was another example of where this team is going from a football perspective.
And now, as we get ready to watch the Cowboys take on the Eagles again Saturday night in the NFC wild card, I’m wondering if we can label them sleepers. And in saying that, label them a sleepers to go all the way to Miami.
Now, I don’t buy into “statement games” at the NFL level. Pro players don’t think like that because the Cowboys know that Philly could come to Dallas and send them home for good. Last week? Yes, a big a win for Dallas, but tomorrow night, the only thing that matters is good NFL football: game plan, execution and technique. Prepare during the week of practice at this time of the year or start planning vacations to the Bahamas.
However, I see this Dallas team as a real contender on the eve of the postseason because they’re doing the proper things to win football games in January.
Their offense under Tony Romo — the player we expected to see fail in December — is rolling because of the balance provided by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. They have an offense — from a game-plan perspective — that’s geared for a playoff run. Felix Jones and Marion Barber in the downhill power running game, the lead draw and the outside zone. Miles Austin’s development has been fun to watch, and his route running has improved to the point that he’s now a No.1 receiver. TE Jason Witten, a matchup nightmare for LBs and safeties, is the ultimate weapon in the intermediate passing game and vs. teams that play any sort of man-to-man scheme.
But it all comes back to Romo, who has shown us an ability to protect the ball, work within the scheme of the offense and use his pocket awareness — his feet, his eyes and his mobility — to keep plays alive and deliver the football to open receivers. The best football of his career? Without a doubt, in my mind.
And we can’t forget about the defense in Dallas — especially on third downs when DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer become the most dominant edge rushers in the playoffs — adding to a secondary that will challenge and play physical with receivers.
Looks and sounds like a playoff team, right?
Sure it does, and that’s why I am buying into the idea that the Dallas Cowboys are built for the postseason.
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