THIS ONES FOR YOU JERRY BROWN
A relatively quiet week for the Cowboys.
And no wonder really after the Redskins came in last Thursday, and ruined all the good Cowboys folks Thanksgiving dinner.
To be fair the first half, once again, we played like turkeys.
Maybe the statement made by Romo earlier in the year, saying he doesn’t mind playing from behind was taken literally by his teammates. I mean there can be no other explanation behind the leads we give teams before starting to play decent.
Oh well, its done now. Cant change the past and all that.
So onwards we go and into Sunday night matchup at home against the Eagles. Well if there’s one team that we could beat easily right now its probably them. Being the Cowboys though IF we do pull out a win it will probably be a tense nervous game.
It does of course still matter. We are in the ridiculous position of being 5-6 with a shot at the division. Although i did read a headline somewhere this week that if youre team is in with a mathematical chance of getting into the postseason then youre team is as good as out. Well that would be quite a long headline, but that’s what it meant.
After the Packers conspired to play to beat us as well as lose to the Giants last Sunday we find ourselves 2 games back with 5 to play, and hoping that after we fix up the Eagles, we get a helping hand from the Redskins. I honestly didn’t think id be a Packer and ‘Skins fan within a week.
Desperate times indeed.
Of course, it doesn’t get ant easier after that, and in fact should Washington beat NY they would be very much in the ascendancy and could go on to win the East.
Failing to do win the division, its hard to see us getting in as a wild card, but stranger things have happened. The Saints losing to Atlanta helped in that respect, but we really shouldn’t be in a position that we are hoping that a number of other teams lose out or us to get in.
All season long we haven’t taken care of our own business, its too much to ask - surely - for other teams to do the business for us.
Right now im taking nothing for granted, but when Jerry Jones says we might not even make it to 8-8 then our days are well and truly numbered.
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First and foremost, may i wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. This goes out to all the Americans readers, those ex-Pats, and all us Brits that have a small part of us rooted firmly in the USA because of our love for the game of football.
Now onto the show….
The Washington Redskins.
For Dallas Cowboys fans, this still continues to be the first name we look for when the schedule is released around April time. The rivalry is still one that has all the NFL watching, and this years first meeting comes on this day when all of America is watching.
Fortunately the schedulers have got it right in terms of matching the two up when the game actually means something in terms of a division race and consequently a playoff push.
Cowboys fans went into the season thinking, once again, that this could be the year it all comes together. Redskins fans were excited by the prospect of seeing a rookie QB lead the team back to the glory years.
At 4-6 Washington comes into the game with a chance of making some noise in an NFC East that no one wants to take control of. 5-5 Cowboys, haven’t fulfilled any of that off season hype. The talent is there, sadly the execution isn’t.
You glance quickly at the stats for the teams so far and they matchup very evenly. The Cowboys heavily outweigh their opponents in passing yards, but this is only because of the near non-existent run game, in which the ‘Skins have a huge advantage. At this time Washington have a 12 yard better average yards per game overall.
Dallas have relied on Tony Romo to generate any kind of movement of the chains, and his ability to keep plays alive while his offensive line waves push rushers through. If the line does it’s domino impression again the look for Romo to be running for his life again. The Redskins have however rejoiced the fact the rookie sensation Robert Griffin III is running around and making huge play with his feet and arm.
Make no doubt that RG3 is the reason the Redskins are in the position they are in. What he has done in ten games, some QBs dont achieve in their career. Yes he is that good.
Romo has the chance to show that he is still the man in November, his stats so far this month have been incredible when you consider the pressure hes been under -
79/111 (71.7%) - 843 (7.6avg) - 4td - 0Int.
Romo is 5-0 on Thanksgiving, this incredible knack of winning in November needs to continue if the Cowboys are to win later today.
Stopping RG3 is the concern of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and im sure hes got the schemes ready, but they have to start fast. If they allow Washington to score early and often the offense will have have to play catchup again, and it may be too much this time.
Again the two teams are close statistically to each other, but you would be more in fear of how the Cowboys can shut things down both up front and in the secondary. You can run on the Redskins but as stated before, the Cowboys have no run game.
So how do you call a game that features teams that play so close and potentially has the season on the line?
It’s not quite lose and go home, that will depend on what the New York Giants do in their Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers. A win puts Washington right back in it, and mentally puts a huge drain on Dallas. Cowboys fans will be hoping that the win streak continues to three games and the onus will be on the Giants as the pressure mounts.
The winner in my opinion will be the defense that manages to contain the QB of the other.No mean feat given what they’ve both accomplished.
Stating the obvious you say.
On one hand i see an exciting shootout, that will see the ball spread around the field. The other hand sees a turnover filled close tense game. whatever transpires it sure to keep us entertained as the turkey goes down.
Oh my prediction…..how could i say anything other than a Cowboys win, 31-24.
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Is it really Week 11? With all the drama that’s surrounded the Cowboys this term it seems like we’ve had a full season already. Here we are though approaching the run in, and if they first part of the year is a marker for what is to come, then lots more nerves are yet to be shredded.
The 2-7 Cleveland Browns are next up. Doesn’t sound a problem right? For the 4-5 Cowboys though they always seem to make a mountain of these types of games.
The number 9 ranked defense in the league should not have too much of a problem with the Browns offense, which is a lowly 28. They really don’t have too many weapons to be concerned about. Rookie running sensation Trent Richardson has had a handful of genuine star moments, but is struggling at 3.8 yards per carry. However he could see some joy against a Dallas D that has struggled against the run so far.
The another rookie star on the Browns offense is quarterback Brandon Weedon, again he hasn’t set the NFL on fire. Maybe in other years he would have grabbed a few headlines, but up against a rookie class the has Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, the spotlight was never going to be fully glowing over him. Currently propping up a QB rating of 67.9, he may well struggle against a Cowboys pass D that is 6th in the league against the pass.
If he does connect its likely to be Richardson out of the backfield who has 31 catches, or big hitter Josh Gordon. The rookie wideout has gained over 20 yards average on his 19 catches and finding the end zone 4 times. He could well matchup against rookie corner Morris Claiborne who was targeted last week in Dallas’ win over the Eagles.
Dallas are coming off 2 hectic road games, the tight loss to Atlanta, and the win over Philadelphia, in what turned out to be a lopsided scoreline helped by special teams and defensive touchdowns.
The run game is still spluttering as DeMarco Murray is still out, and they will look to bring him back possibly for the Redskins Thanksgiving Day game next week. Felix Jones has picked up the slack well but has yet to truly deliver that knockout blow. So the onus will once again rest with Tony Romo and his 6th ranked pass offense to lead the way. There has been a bit more consistency in the passing game, which still has its frustrating moments (dropped passes, penalties). This has to be where the game will be won as Romo can really spread the field, maybe even see a few long passes.
Why were not going deep more often with Miles Austin more I’m not sure, he in my opinion is still our biggest threat, and if we get the ball in his hands more it would open up some space for Dez Bryant to operate.
The big hitting defense is still rescuing the team from tricky situations, Ware, Spencer, Hatcher, Ratliff, Carter are now integral for the Cowboys up front. If offenses get past them they have Carr, Claiborne and Jenkins fighting for the ball.
Such is the scheduling in the NFL these two teams filled with rich history, don’t often meet. The last time was in 2008 when Dallas ran out easy 28-10 winners, and you have to go back to 1999 for the Browns last victory, a 20-17 score.
I expect Dallas to continue where they left off last week. Lots of big hits and lots of scoring. They have to take advantage of New York Giants bye week and close the gap in the NFC East division to one game.With 2 more home games coming up after this one the Cowboys have a real chance of going into December with a winning record.
Cowboys by 20.
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Kevin Ogletrees fast start to the season had many Cowboys fans salivating, at the prospect of another target for Tony Romo to use against unsuspecting secondaries.
His 8 catch, 114 yards, 2 touchdown performance in New York against the Giants, opened many eyes in the NFL. Unfortunately this has been the highlight of his season to date. Although he showed some of that explosiveness last weekend at Atlanta. 3 touches for 96 and a score, showed that when hes on his game he can be a force.
Even though he is the 3rd receiver in the depth chart, he is in fact the 4th choice when it comes to actual targets because of Tight End Jason Witten.
Not a huge stat but in each of Dallas 3 wins so far he has had 4 or more catches, so maybe the key is to throw him the ball more? if its under 4 , we lose.
The big question when he won the 3rd receiver place was could he replace last years breakout star, Laurent Robinson.
Robinson had a great year in 2011, which landed him a big payday in Jacksonville. 54 receptions for 858, and 11 TDs. this from the third man. Not bad. Having missed the first 2 games through injury, so the numbers seem even better.
Can Ogletree match up to this?
Well, just by thinking of his play so far you would say no.
However the numbers tell a different story.
Through the first 8 weeks of last year Robinson had 24 catches, hauled in 2 TDs, and gained 368 yards, this includes the missed first 2 weeks remember.
How does Ogletree compare? well consider this, in 2 games this year against Baltimore and the loss 2 weeks ago to the Giants he had ZERO catches. Has 24 receptions for 344 yards, and 3 scores.
So 24 less yards, but with one more end zone trip.
Same number of catches.
Still missing Robinson?
Of course coming into the meat of the season, everyone needs to step up, but don’t doubt Mr.Ogletree. He has shown he can perform , so lets trust him more and he will turn more heads as we make a run for the division.
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What a mess.
The 2012 Dallas Cowboys have failed to deliver. Again.
Can they afford any more slip-ups? Can they run the rest of the season and reach double figures in the W column? Can we expect to see more consistency?
The three questions there are all fairly contradictory of each other, in the sense that if any are to be achieved then a word Ive used before on these pages will have to surface.
So far this season its all been about who is to blame. Oh, look there’s the mirror, look into it. You’re all to blame. That’s why its a team game. That’s why there’s a depth chart. Yes the majority of the headlines this week have been about Jerry Jones and his apparent lack out of hindsight. Well we know that hes here to stay so we just have to get on with it.
I dont want rumours of possible Head Coach changes to come back and be used as an excuse come December when we officially cant make the playoffs. You know that someone will mention it “the locker room talk of the coach being fired was a distraction the players could have done without”.
Right now we are as good as the record says we are. teams suffer heartbreaking losses but bounce back and show they are the real deal. we have yet to do that. The losses to the Ravens and the Giants, could have been different. Seconds tick by and inches make the difference.
Wake up people. It happens every season. Not just to us but to all teams. They could all point to the moment that changed the direction of their season. No point feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking how it could of been, and that were so unlucky, never get the breaks. Disappointing yes, frustratingly annoying even. Only one thing can buck this trend.
Change this and it changes the season.
Get angry and come out fighting. Get focused and disciplined. Its there, its always been there, the players and coaches don’t have to look very far, its all within themselves. Dig it out and use it from this Sunday, everyone is accountable.
Optimism has always been my downfall when it comes to the Cowboys, we always think its our right to win because of our glorious past. As harsh as it may sound though that’s exactly what its is - the past. This set of players know all about our history, or at least they should if they love the game. They should be looking at each other saying ” I want to part of that, i need to be in the Ring of Honour, go down in history as a difference maker”.
Have they the hunger?
So here’s how we turn this around.
Go into Philadelphia with a new approach, fast and physical. They are beatable in their backyard. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Back this up with a bruising win over the Browns. Thanksgiving at home a tradition, the Redskins, the rivalry, a W.
Then prove the Eagles win wasn’t a fluke, but the turning point. Go into Cincinnati and come home to play Pittsburgh on the back of a 5 game win streak. I expect at this point to split the games with the Steelers and the Saints, meaning we have to go to Washington to seal the playoffs berth.
Am i being far fetched? Probably.
Can it be done? Maybe
Should they play every down as if it was the season on the line? Definitely.
Because it is.
After the week long build up the International Series once again arrived in London. Wembley Stadium once again become the focal point for British ( and European ) NFL fans.
A sold out venue, a wide choice of team merchandise, and more grilled meat than….well somewhere that shifts a lot of grilled meat!! A huge success all around, that could have opened the door further for a possible franchise here.
For more on that read my piece at http://www.ibtimes.com/sportsnet/nfl-london-expansion-emotional-high-or-woe-856634
The game itself, after the first series of plays when St.Louis scored on a 50 yard pass play, was a one sided affair. Patriots QB Tom Brady had his way all night with the Rams defense. A score of 45-7 was a fair score on the balance of play.
It was a quick journey home to see how the game of the weekend would play out. The much anticipated clash between the New York Giants, going into Cowboys Stadium looking to improve on their 3-0 record there.
Having to follow the game on my phone for the first quarter and a half, it was hard going, almost to the point that hitting refresh wouldn’t cure the scoreline, and wishing my battery would give out so that i didn’t have to endure the hollow feeling that was coming after the high of the London game.
When you team spots another a 23-0 lead, following bad play after horrendous bad play, its hard to come back. Especially when its the Champions wishing to avenge their opening week loss and push further ahead in the division.
Amazingly the Cowboys did just that. Comeback.
Cutting the lead to by ten points going into the locker room , then scoring two more touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, the turnaround was complete. 24 unanswered points. 24-23. It was quite unbelievable. Not having actually witnessed the debacle of the opening 17 minutes of play, and not particularly wanting to, i can only imagine how this stunning turnaround felt to those packed into the stadium and the millions watching on TV.
Then it was Eli time. The 4th quarter where everything he does turns to gold, or so were told. Managing to drive enough yards he let his kicker do the actual winning. How nice of him.
Cal lit desperation. Call it panic. Call it the season being agonisingly near the bring. Somehow Dallas found itself with another shot at the win. You could argue the case that after playing a near faultless 2nd half of football ( note i said near ), we actually deserved the win.
And so , with just 6 ticks left Dez Bryant came down in the back of the end zone with a bump. some say in hindsight that the bump he took should have been harder, with the ball from if were being honest a decent throw form Tony Romo.
The rest will go down in short term history, as it didn’t actually win the game. As shown in the picture below Dez had his fingertips, although i like to now say it was his glove tips, on the white backline.
Out of bounds.
Out of luck.
Its hard to know where the Cowboys go from here. Going into the business end of the season with Eagles, Redskins both twice and Atlanta, Pittsburgh and New Orleans to come, where will the wins come from for us to be in the mix?
Please note that i have restrained from any coach/player bashing on this post as i think enough of that has been done already.
We know the problems, lets just hope they do. Before its too late.
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The 5-2 New York Giants roll into Cowboys Stadium Sunday evening knowing a win over the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys will be a huge step in retaining thier NFC East division crown.
Every game this season seems like it will determine the Cowboys fate, right from the week one showdown in NY, to last weeks win at Carolina. This week eight matchup is no different, and if they can’t prevent the Giants from winning again in thier own stadium, it really could be a mortal blow.
The current champions have made a habit of winning on the road and just love coming into Dallas and spoiling the party. Since the new Cowboys Stadium opened, with this very same fixture, New York has won all 3 games it has played here. All very exciting high-scoring affairs. 33-31 was the first historical game played in Jerry’s World, followed by a 41-35 win the following year. Then a monumental collapse by an in control Dallas, saw Big Blue run out 37-34 winners.
The stories coming out of the Dallas camp this week have been all about the key injuries of major players. Linebacker Sean Lee, the leader of the defense has been ruled out for the season, Running back Demarco Murray is also sidelined again, meaning backups Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar will see more time behind an also banged up Felix Jones. Injuries however have plagued the New York Giants over the years but they have always come out fighting and proved the doubters wrong in troubled times. It’s this steely nerve that the Cowboys will have to demonstrate if they are to come out victorious.
So my keys for a Cowboys victory
- Running the ball enough to keep NY defense honest
- Attack with the deep ball more often, Miles Austin has to used more.
- Cornerbacks to shutdown Victor Cruz - again.
- Defense has to sack, hit, hurry Eli Manning at every oppurtunity.
- Gutsy coaching calls. If HC Garrett has any tricks up his sleeve he has to bring them out now.
The last one there is probably the most important, we have to be brave and keep going full tilt, there must be no second guessing on our part. If we can attack from the start and show the same intensity as the game in New York, way back in September, we should have enough to win. Cowboys by 6, 34-28.
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The Giants seem to be able to pull off wins out of situations that other teams seem near impossible. The sign of a good champion.
The Dallas Cowboys seem to make a habit of winning ugly. Sign of a team not quite there yet.
Well when the 5-2 Giants roll into Cowboys Stadium this Sunday evening, the 3-3 Cowboys will be doing all they can to show they are a team to be reckoned with.
Sundays win at Carolina came at a cost, several key injuries to players, left the treatment tables in the locker room full. Some of these injuries are beyond gaffer tape.
Linebacker Sean Lee is lost for the season, (an MRI scan showing ligament damage to his right big toe) despite his wanting of a second opinion, a sign of a player desperate to play. He doesnt need to prove he is a warrior though, his on field statistics show that. leading the team in tackles and since 2010 he is the LB with the most interceptions in the league at 7.
Then theres center Phil Costa, his injury was feared to be season ending as he writhed in agony on the Panthers turf. Helped off on a cart, his rolled-up-on ankle as dislocated. In the locker room it popped back into place and has left a severe sprain that sees him out of action for 4-6 weeks. The offensive line gets to shuffle the pack again.
Running back Demarco Murray will more than likely miss the game due to his right foot injury which sidelined him last week. meaning more game time for Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner and maybe Lance Dunbar.
An uphill battle has now become an up-mountain battle. These Cowboys always seem to come out fighting when the chips are down though, so don’t count them out just yet.
It’s not quite the last chance saloon, but another loss on the road to an NFC team could, just could, spell the end of what promised to be a good campaign. Games against divisional rivals loom large on the horizon, so the Cowboys(2-3) must navigate past the tricky unpredictable Carolina Panthers(1-4).
Both teams come into this game knowing that a defeat will make a mountain out of the rest of the schedule, so even though its not quite must win for Dallas it would put a severe dent in thier confidence and aspirations of achieving success this season if they returned home with another gut-wrenching loss.
Panthers QB Cam Newton, now in his second NFL year will have to be on his game if his team are to get the win they need. His cause isnt helped by the loss of Center, Ryan Kalil. It means that Right Guard Geoff Hangartner will switch to that positon and in turn knock the Offensive line out of sync. If it wasnt bad enough coming up against DeMarcus Ware and company when you’re a fully healthy O line, then a new look one will have trouble. So expect a lot of joy from Ware as he gets to rush Cam out of the pocket, but as we know this is where Newton can be his most effective. The Cowboys secondary which has only yielded 2 touchdowns so far will look to make their first impression in the INT coloumn as Cam will be forced into errors. if he does connect, WR Steve Smith will no doubt see plenty of ball and they will also look to get TE Greg Olsen more involved.
The run game, so effective for Dallas in last weeks defeat at Baltimore, has suffered a setback with the loss of DeMarco Murray, but look for Felix Jones to take up the slack and get more carries. This area is key, as Carolina rank 23rd in the league in yards per carry allowed, and if Dallas can get a head of steam here it will be truly beneficial. Also if Dez Bryant plays (doubts over a nagging groin injury) to the same level he did last week he will have another great day vs the Panthers zone defense, also this will enable Miles Austin to see more ball as Dez may get more attention now that he had his best game so far. Look for lots of quick stuff underneath from Tony Romo to Jason Witten and his running backs, Carolina tends to play off the ball so the gaps will be there.
This is something that was hugely succesful in the secong half of that week one win New York. That seems a long time ago now, doesn’t it?
How does Dallas get the win?
- Stick with, and be patient with the run game.
- Once established hit the big play. Go deep.
- Disrupting Cam Newton in not only his passing but more importantly dont give him any wide lanes.
- Turnovers. Were due a big day from the cornerbacks.
Everyone who steps foot on that field Sunday afternoon is playing for the season, they have the Star on the helmet, but now they have to step up and show they truly belong. I have every confidence that this game will be played with the same intensity as the Giants game. Cowboys 31-17.
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