The Dallas Cowboys went 0 for 4 against the Giants and Eagles last year. Had that number been 1 and 3, just a paltry 1 and 3, well, Tony Romo would have been in the playoffs, while the Giants would have been the suckiest losers that ever sucked, missing out two years in a row on the postseason when they had an opportunity, and almost five years removed from that fluky 2007 run.
DeMarcus Ware would have been sacking Matt Ryan for a safety in the wildcard round, Romo would have been throwing an improbable final second touchdown right before the half at Green Bay, and Kyle Williams would have fumbled the ball in overtime, proving that Tony Romo had suddenly caught the clutch gene. Okay, maybe none of that would have happened. The alternatives, though, to a Giants run if Dallas just holds on for that win in Jerry World, are just as frightening.
While Romo gets all the blame, it has been the defensive secondary that has been a major issue. So Jerry Jones tightened up his cheeks one more time and went back to work. He signed Brandon Carr to play one corner position, and then traded up in the draft for LSU’s Mo Claiborne at the other. Also, rumor has it that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gave birth to a 8 lb., 4 oz. boy this offseason, and is now 10 weeks back and losing that baby weight he put on last year. The smaller cankles and need for fewer naps should help him turn the defense around in year two.
Of course, the other side of the ball could be a concern because of injuries and the imposing interior offensive line. Miles Austin has been out most of the preseason, Romo’s security binkie Jason Witten has had all of his internal organs removed but is seeking a waiver to play tonight’s game with a colostomy bag, and Dez Bryant is a fistfight with his security guard away from missing time.
So the Cowboys couldn’t get over a Giant hump last year. Going back to 1990, there have been fourteen other times when one division opponent got swept by another, and if they could have just won one of the games, would have made the postseason instead of their rival. The good news? Past performance is no indication of future performance. Those games now mean nothing. The team that got swept went on to go 16-12 against their rival the next season. The most recent case? You might remember this team called the Giants that choked big time against the Eagles two years ago.
I think the Cowboys have about a 49.1% chance of winning each game, so my official prediction (checks ESPN the Magazine) is . . . 0 – 16. Seems reasonable. Of course, a few adjustments to that–I wouldn’t argue if you said it was 52.3% instead–and they could be 16-0. I think that’s their range this year, and I’m sticking to it.
[photo via US Presswire]
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