Don’t look now, but after the New York Giants’ 31-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon and the Dallas Cowboys’ 38-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, the NFC East might not be decided just yet.
Here are the current NFC East standings, through Week 10. The Giants hold a 1.5-game lead over the Cowboys:
Here’s a look at the remaining schedules for each team. Notice the Cowboys’ schedule is loaded with home games and non-playoff contenders. The Giants have two fewer home games left and play the majority of their remaining games against contenders.
Cowboys remaining schedule
Week 11: vs. Cleveland
Week 12: vs. Washington (Thanksgiving)
Week 13: vs. Philadelphia (Sunday Night Football)
Week 14: AT Cincinnati
Week 15: vs. Pittsburgh
Week 16: vs. New Orleans
Week 17: AT Washington
Eagles remaining schedule
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: vs. Green Bay (Sunday Night Football)
Week 13: AT Washington (Monday Night Football)
Week 14: vs. New Orleans
Week 15: AT Atlanta
Week 16: AT Baltimore
Week 17: vs. Philadelphia
Editors Note: I think this post is a little premature. Sunday’s win over Philly was huge! Yes, the Dallas Cowboys are still in the hunt … but, there is a LOT of football left to be played.
First, the Cowboys need to take care of business vs. Cleveland Browns and the remaining opponents. Nothing should be taken for granted. Garrett’s conservative style keeps these games close.
Secondly, player health has been an issue all season. The 46-man roaster has changed every week. For Dallas to have a shot, they’ll have to remain reasonably healthy or backup/role players will need to step up. The Cowboys will need Murray and the offensive line to stay healthy while they get in sync as a unit.
Third, no team plays the Dallas Cowboys like they are non-playoff contenders. Teams play-up to the talent when they face the Cowboys. Cowboys Stadium creates a “Super Bowl” atmosphere for visiting teams … and they respond. The new car smell is gone for most of the players, but for visiting teams that come into town once a year (or on the four year scheduling cycle) … it’s a spectacle! Teams are already hyped. The stadium adds to the adrenaline factor. The Cowboys must learn to feed off of that energy.
It’s good to know that they’re still alive in the playoff race. I think we should be cautiously optimistic. There are six divisional games left. All four teams are fighting for that top spot. It’s not going to be given to Dallas, the Cowboys will have to take it. Comments welcome.
PHILADELPHIA (105.3 THE FAN) – The best explanation for why Jerry Jones would attempt to sidestep last weekend’s rumors about Sean Payton as a future Cowboys coach but then this weekend talk fairly openly about rumors about Mike Holmgren as a future Cowboys coach has nothing to do with Payton, with Holmgren, or with sitting Dallas coach Jason Garrett.
It has everything to do with Jerry being Jerry.
“Of course, Mike Holmgren is a heck of a coach,” Jones said on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan before Sunday’s Cowboys-at-Eagles kickoff. “But the facts are that Jason Garrett gives us an outstanding chance to be what we want to be. So, there you have it. I wouldn’t comment one way or the other there with Mike.”
Of course, he just did comment one way or the other regarding Holmgren, with whom Jones became friendly years ago when the Super Bowl-winning coach (then with the Packers) served with Jones on the NFL’s powerful Competition Committee. And Jones said more, explaining that when he heard about the CBSSports report about Holmgren harboring “serious interest’’ in Dallas if there should be a vacancy, he visited with Cowboys play-by-play voice Brad Sham of The Fan to catch up on the news.
“I was interested in why he said he would like to be the coach,” Jones said. “And that was good. We are good friends, have a lot of respect for each other, served on the Competition Committee together for eight years. He’s very familiar with how we operate the Cowboys, and does have a high appreciation for our talent that we have on the team right now. All of that is a compliment. Thank you, Mike.”
As noted last week, Holmgren – not successful in his executive position with the Cleveland Browns – is among Jones’ confidants, a friendly advisor as Jerry runs his team as the owner, president and GM.
Jones also has a relationship with suspended Saints coach Payton. And with hundreds of other football names, some more headline-grabbing than others.
If a football person wants a job, or wants a raise, strategically, he might leak info about being interested in Dallas. Meanwhile, if a reporter wants attention, he might make certain to release inside info under the spotlight of an NFL Sunday … and to raise the profile of the story by including the lightning-rod Cowboys in the first paragraph.
It is not Jerry Jones’ plan to fire Garrett, though Dallas’ 3-5 start has placed the young coach the middle of these sort of stories.
“We need to win a game,’’ Jones said earlier this week. “I looked for an uptick when Jason took over (in the middle of the 2010 season). I look for that now. The arrow is going up.’’
So why is Jerry Jones willing to let himself be drawn into conversations like this? Because which ever way the arrow is pointing, Jones likes to make certain the TV cameras are pointed at him and his Cowboys.