They say it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. The dream is dead. Dallas was exposed. The Cowboys were never any good. That is exactly what you have been hearing all week. This team has basically fallen from the media’s favor, and now, after one loss, there is all sorts of speculation as to who the best team is in the NFC. Forget Dallas being mentioned in the same breath as AFC powerhouses like Indianapolis and New England. Forget that, at the time of their match-ups, there is not one strong win between either of those teams, let alone the Dallas Cowboys. No way shape or form should Dallas be included in any discussions as to who the upper tier of the NFL really is. Now, all of a sudden, magically, as if they no longer exist, other teams are getting mentioned in the NFC discussions.
Dallas lost to the best team in the NFL, the best coaching staff in the NFL, the best at developing talent in the NFL, the best drafters in the NFL, and the best front office in the NFL. And, with all that being said, Dallas had opportunities to win that game. And, with THAT being said, they had the lead in the 3rd quarter.
In a league where the talent is dispersed more evenly than any other pro league, and anybody can beat anybody, you are going to lose games. Do you want to lose to the New England Patriots or the St. Louis Rams?
The Dallas Cowboys, right now, are a game ahead of where anybody had them at this point. Most folks had them at 4-2. They are 5-1, with a loss to a quality opponent. So much so, that there is maybe a case to be made for New England going undefeated this year. And when we are dogging the Dallas Cowboys for their wins, let’s all remember that we did dog them, because if New England goes undefeated, take a look at their division. Six of those wins will come against the worst division, hands down, in the NFL. The Jets have got nothing to offer anyone this season. Buffalo had a shot at being the 2nd best team in there, but they lost 900 players already. Miami might not win a game, and after seeing them, how could they?
Trent Edwards, Cleo Lemon, and Kellen Clemens.
And that is not to downplay New England. The Patriots are legitimately the best team in the NFL. Why I brought any of that up is so people remember that the reason why Dallas was dogged was because of their schedule. It does not get any worse than the AFC East.
Now, the NFC East, that is another story altogether.
If you are going to lose, lose to the best team you play. Not the Jets or the Dolphins.
Or the Bills, for that matter.
Dallas had secondary woes which were increased exponentially by the speed New England has at the wide-out positions. Wes Welker is one of the fastest guys in the NFL, and Stallworth has a unique ability to manuever when the ball is in his hands. Not to mention Randy Moss in there as well. Is there anybody out there in TV land who did not think that the New England would take advantage of that secondary? Jacques Reeves has been playing the best football he’s ever played… But the guy is still a back-up. He did a great job, considering, but you cannot expect this guy to hold the fort against these receivers. Sooner or later the outcome of a football game would be placed on the shoulders of this secondary. Newman is not 100% healthy, Henry is out, Roy Williams is shaky at best.
Minnesota has a zero percent chance of beating anyone through the air. Similarly, their pass coverage is atrocious. In the New England game, the offense played decently, when they were not committing penalties, and will be able to move the ball a lot swifter against this Minnesota squad. They’ve already played the best team in the NFL. The passing game will be fine this week.
The strength of this Vikings team is their running game and run-stopping game. Somehow, this supposed all-universe defense of Chicago, the worst team in the NFC North, could not take advantage of a team who cannot pass, and allowed a rookie running-back to destroy them all afternoon. How this happened, I have no idea. I am inclined to think that the Dallas front seven is, right now, smarter than Chicago’s. How could they not be? You could run-out seven horseshoe crabs and have more success tackling Peterson than Chicago just did.
Dallas was not exposed as being overrated. Objective people saw a secondary that was banged up, an offensive line that is huge but has mobility issues, a first-year coaching staff that makes great adjustments but is still a first-year coaching staff, and a young quarterback who is quite good but had to face Bill Bellichek. The people who overrated this team are the ignorant fans who are Cowboys’ fans first and football fans second. The others who overrated this team are the national media who did their best to convince everyone that this game between two teams of different conferences, which did not matter one bit, mattered a whole lot.
Dallas has played the best team in the NFL, and will not face another like that all season. Playing the Patriots was a blessing in disguise, and the NFC East is maybe the best division this season. You are only as good as your competition, and Dallas is doing just fine.