COWBOYS MIDTERM EVALUATION
By mark rogers
November 13, 2009
I predicted at the beginning of the year that through eight games of the 2009 season the Cowboys would be 7-1.
I called for a 7-0 start followed by a road loss to Philly.
So where are we at the halfway point? Actually in a pretty good spot.
A 6-2 record with our two losses coming down to the last play of the game (don't get me wrong, we DO NOT deserve to be 8-0).
We have an up-and-coming receiver in Miles Austin who is becoming more and more of a household name with each passing week.
He's catapulted our offense into the #2 position behind New Orleans in total yards. At this point only the Saints and Vikings are scoring more points/game than us. And nobody in the entire NFL is gaining more yards/play than our 6.5. Surprising, I know.
Our defense has given up fewer points per game and total points than any other team in the NFC despite being ranked 11th in the conference in total defense.
And we're in first place.
After what happened the first four games of the season? I'll take it.
Not saying that I'm over the Sunday night loss to the Giants on national television (I may not ever get over that one), but it's starting to look like we may end the playoff-win drought this year.
Over the last few years, we've shot out of the gate only to falter when it matters...in December.
But maybe, just maybe, this year we stumbled out of the gate only to gain some momentum and rise to the occasion late in the year like good teams are supposed to do.
The other encouraging thing is that we have a lot...A LOT... of room for improvement.
Like I mentioned earlier, we're still giving up too many yards. I like the fact that we don't give up many points, but if you continually give up that many yards, teams are going to start scoring on you.
Only the Packers have been penalized more than us on offense. That must change.
Our turnover margin is dead even at 0. And that's an important stat. Of the teams in the negative (meaning they're turning it over more times than their opponents are) only the Steelers and Cardinals rank higher than third in their respective divisions.
We got off to a slow start in the turnover category but our defense is continuing to improve in that stat each week.
Three of our next five games are at Cowboys Stadium. In that span we have road games against Green Bay and the New York Giants, and home games against Washington, Oakland and San Diego.
Then we go to New Orleans, to FedEx Field in Washington and finish off the year at home against the Eagles.
I'd say we win at least one of the two against the Redskins, beat Oakland and San Diego. Then if we can just win one against the Giants (who we should have beat the first time), Saints, Eagles and Washington...we'd be 10-6 and most likely headed to the playoffs.
To me, that's a worst case scenario.
Overall, I'd say we're in pretty good shape through the half way point.
But only time will tell if the December nightmare will haunt us yet again. Only 17 days to find out.
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