With Dan Bailey’s 35-yard field goal, the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) have now positioned themselves to win out and claim the NFC East Division ‘crown’.
With five games left in the NFL season, the NFC East Division title has come down to a predictably close race. I will preview and predict the remaining five games, all winnable, on the Cowboys schedule.
Week 13: Oakland Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys
Final: Raiders-17 Cowboys-32
Romo– 23-31, 327 yards, 2 TD, Murray– 17 attempts, 120 rush yards, 1 TD
The Dallas Cowboys should dominate this game on boys sides of the ball. The Raiders, (4-7) haven’t won back to back games all season, and continue to give up points through the air, ranking 24th in passing yards and 20th in points allowed. Yards through the air should come at ease for Romo, and the Cowboys’ empty set formation should thrive where Romo has the versatility to distribute properly under pressure. With Romo and Murray thriving off each other, the Cowboys should win this ‘Turkey Bowl’ with ease.
Week 14: Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears
Final: Cowboys-24 Bears-17
Romo– 15-26, 230 yards, 1 TD; Witten– 6 rec, 81 yards, 1 TD; Murray– 23 attempts, 152 yards, 2 TDs, Ware- 2 sacks
With the league’s worst rushing defense(32nd), giving up 145.2 rushing yards per game, DeMarco Murray should control this game with the help of some timely throws from Romo to Jason Witten off play-action fakes. Chicago gives up an incredible 28.1 points per game (28th), and with the quarterback woes, the Bears don’t have the offensive fire power to match the Cowboys. Ware off the edge,with the help of Jason Hatcher, should be able to do damage against an injury riddled offensive line.
Week 15: Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
Final: Packers-24 Cowboys-28
Romo– 26-37, 370 yards 3 TDs; Bryant– 8 rec, 122 yards, 2 TDs; Ware– 1 sack, forced fumble
This game is tricky, because the unknown return of Aaron Rodgers. Coach Mike McCarthy has ruled Rodgers out for this Thursday’s game against Detroit, but his return should be expected after week 14.
If Rodgers plays, it will be a shootout, with both Rodgers and Romo displaying their incredible elusive ability, inside and outside the pocket. Rodgers is no doubt a stud QB, but if this is his first or second game back in action, the ‘Boys should be one step ahead. With pressure against the depleted offensive line, and injuries to the secondary, the Cowboys are more healthy and explosive than Green Bay. Expect a close game throughout, then Romo leading yet another late game winning touchdown drive.
Week 16: Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
Final: Cowboys-32 Redskins- 17
Romo– 23-30, 310 yards, 2 TDs; Murray– 18 attempts, 110 yards, 2 TDs; Robert Griffin III– 2 interceptions, 1 fumble lost
Now down to the last two games of the season, both against divisional opponents. The Cowboys will look to dominate this game offensively.
The majority of Robert Griffin III’s stats come in garbage time, with the game already lost. The Redskins’ offense is explosive at times, but has looked so incredibly mediocre as well, especially compared to last season. After knee surgery, the dual threat ability of run and pass Griffin use to display has vanished, and he is being exposed.
Look for the Cowboys to drop seven into coverage at times, baiting RGIII into over/under throws and eventually interceptions. Allowing over 31.1 points per game (31st), and almost giving up 280 passing yards a game, Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray should feed off each other, and put up some points on the Redskins.
Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Final: Philadelphia 32 Cowboys 35
Romo– 24-34, 365 yards, 3 TDs; Murray– 15 attempts, 95 yards, 1 TD, Defensive touchdown- pick six
The Cowboys now face the Philadelphia Eagles, and most likely a win to get in situation. The Eagles face a favorable schedule for the remaining four weeks before facing the Cowboys: Cardinals, Lions, Vikings, and Bears. Arizona and Detroit wont be easy for the Eagles and they could easily lose both of those games, but if they win out, they will be meeting the ‘Boys come Dec 29th, and it would be a winner take all for the NFC Division Championship.
The Cowboys shocked the NFL world earlier this season, only surrendering three points to the Philadelphia Eagles in their first contest. Three! This Philly team averages 25 points per game (9th) and 412 yards offensively a game (4th). Holding the Eagles to three points that day was quite remarkable, and a repeat performance is almost impossible.
With the NFC East on the line, Romo and the Cowboys’ offense, now with experience in’ close out’ games like this, will stay focused and poised and close out the Eagles with a balanced attack and aggressive defense, which scores some points of their own. Stopping LeSean McCoy will be key for the Cowboys, where Nick Foles relies heavily on the play action pass after Philly has establishing McCoy’s rushing attack. Stop McCoy, and it stops Foles. That simple.
This is obviously the best case scenario for the Cowboys in a season that really hasn’t been pretty, but with guys finally getting healthy and a favorable schedule, I think the Dallas Cowboys could win out and represent the NFC East in the playoffs as division champs.
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