Two weeks ago, the Dallas Cowboys were embarrassed on Monday Night Football, dropped to 3-5, and their were open questions about how much longer Jason Garrett would be coach. But the NFL can change in a couple of weeks, or one game, or even a play, and now Dallas is back in the mix at 5-5, and is probably the favorite to win the NFC East now after Alex Smith’s season-ending injury.
So congratulations Dallas fans, this is now looking like a season where Dallas does enough to hang around, and if they can get to 9 wins, will likely be the NFC East champion.
That begins this week, where they catch Washington at home with Colt McCoy now at quarterback. Dallas has the third-ranked defense by points, has been very stout against the run all year, and rookie Leighton Vander Esch has seemlessly transitioned to a playmaker with Sean Lee being out again. They are also very flawed on offense even still, and while Ezekiel Elliott has gotten it going, the passing game is not explosive.
Here’s a look at the upcoming schedules for the Cowboys, Redskins, and Eagles with my estimated win probabilities:
The Washington-Dallas game on Thanksgiving has huge implications. If you pencil in a win for Dallas to that, then the two teams would have a very similar overall win expectation, with Washington having more 50/50 type games and Dallas being favored more and having more home games but also having to play the Saints.
They would seem to catch Washington at the right time, on a short week, trying to adapt. A win would pull them even, give them a split on the season, and set them up where a win over the Eagles in three weeks could put them in a clear position to win the division.
Then again, a loss to Washington would bring back the resounding chorus of Jason Garrett stories. Crazy how things can change so quickly in the NFL. It could change again, but right now, it looks like Jason Garrett has used yet another life and may survive if the Cowboys can get into the playoffs. Doing so at 8-8 isn’t even out of the question, and then Jerry Jones would have an interesting dilemma. Fire the coach whose career seems to be defined by 8-8, when he actually makes the playoffs? When you have kept him around while making only two playoff appearances in seven prior full seasons?
It may not always be pretty, but it’s never boring in Dallas.