Sorry: The Cowboys Still Aren’t Legit
The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38=27 in Philadelphia last night, and the Internet is falling all over itself to praise Jerry Jones' team for not disintegrating in December, as they've done each of the last three seasons. And while taking control of the division in Week 15 with a decisive win is impressive, I'm not ready to call the Cowboys a true contender just yet. Even if they make the playoffs, they'll be squarely beneath the NFC's class of true Super Bowl hopefuls.
Looking back at the 2014 season as a whole, let's consider the following: Who have the Cowboys really beaten? Of their 10 wins, only ONE came against a team that now has a winning record. That was against the Seahawks, in Seattle, which could have been considered a signature win if the Seahawks hadn't been going through a personnel crisis that culminated in the Percy Harvin trade days later. Since Week 8, Seattle is 7-1.
As for this December turnaround: The Cowboys are 2-0 this month, which is a nice change of pace from years past (a December record of 5-8 since 2011), and that's great. Except when you consider they beat the Bears -- who are in the midst of their own late-season meltdown, complete with crying coaches -- and the Eagles, captained by Mark Sanchez.
Just like I won't give the Cowboys a hard time about losing to the Cardinals when they were without Tony Romo, I can't give Dallas credit for beating a team with Butt Fumble behind center. Sanchez threw for 252 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. As the Seahawks loudly declared last week, Sanchez isn't a good quarterback, and losing to him twice in one season would have been embarrassing.
On the other hand, I will give Dallas a hard time for losing to teams like Washington, San Francisco, and... Philadelphia, with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Right now, the Cowboys are in the driver's seat for the NFC East title. But if they don't win out, they could still miss the playoffs, even at 11-5. This speaks more to the insanity of letting the NFC South winner into the postseason than anything else, but it's also a reminder that the Cowboys are still just one loss away from another lost season.
And if they do make the playoffs, is anyone really going to pick them over Green Bay, Seattle or Detroit? If you base your prediction on how they've played this season, you can't. And so I won't -- and I won't consider the Cowboys legit until they actually prove me wrong.
Dez Bryant is awesome, though.
Photo via Getty
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