Reasons Why the Cowboys Will…

Win

  • Our receiving corps will overmatch New York’s secondary. No matter how you rank them, Romo’s first four passing options are threats that any quarterback would love to have at his disposal. When your fourth receiver is either Jason Witten or Laurent Robinson, I think you’re doing something right. The Giants can’t roll or adjust coverages to stop one receiver without leaving gaps for another receiver to exploit. This matchup also shows that drafting Prince Amukamara would have been a huge mistake.
  • The Giants home disadvantage has helped put them in this Week 17 position. Of their seven (true) home games, they’ve lost four–with the Seattle and Washington games really making the “G Men” look bad. The crowd will be intense, and some guy from Brooklyn will make his mom proud by misspelling the “Manning” painted on his beer gut–but MetLife stadium isn’t intimidating. Dallas should be 1-0 in that stadium this season, and that was on 9/11. The crowd will never be as involved as it was that night.
  • Romo has been playing very well, and is looking like the 2009 Romo we all love, and lust after. He’s thrown only nine interceptions all season (to 29 touchdowns), and aside from the Jets and Lions games, he’s only thrown five. Romo has also been making big throws when the team needs them–Austin lost the pass in the lights at the end of the Giants game, not Romo’s fault. His throwing hand may not be 100%, but he should still have enough feeling in his fingers to torch Corey Webster.

Lose

  • Victor Cruz ranks third in receiving yards in the league. His stats don’t show how well he plays over the middle, and rarely is taken down by the first tackler (I’m talking to you, Mike Jenkins). Not only is he the best receiver on the Giants, he’s the best receiver the Cowboys have faced since Wes Welker. Trust me, he was on my fantasy team in two leagues–he’s going to play a big factor on Sunday.
  • The Cowboys Defense is horrible. I know the statistics that Rob Ryan is harking on, but ask yourself this: When you watch the game, do they look like a top ten defense? Eli Manning dropped back almost 50 times in the previous meeting, and wasn’t sacked once. Even DeMarcus Ware has had a less than stellar year. I know his sack numbers look good but he’s not getting consistent pressure, and teams have stopped giving him double teams and chips. The issues with this defense deserve their own entry, but suffice it to say that Dallas may need to score 50 to win tomorrow.
  • Brandon Jacobs has been able to back up his talk lately. I’m still not convinced that he’s not really a fullback lining up incorrectly, but Eli keeps handing him the ball anyway. If you don’t hit Jacobs in the backfield to keep him from gaining momentum, he’ll gain three extra yards based on physics alone. No one wants the run game to be stifled more than Jenkins, Scandrick, and Newman. If the front seven can’t get in the backfield consistently against him, the Giants will frequently be in favorable down/distance situations–and have the luxury of play action to further expose this Cowboy secondary.
  • Jason Garrett needs to sweat the small things. I’m on the record as loving Garrett, and I’m fairly confident that he’ll present Jerry Jones with a few more Lombardi Trophies before his tenure is over. However he has made a few small mistakes that affected the game, if they didn’t change the outcome. The coaching staff and Jones have said all the right things and the exact same mistakes haven’t been made again, the time for “learning experiences” are the five years you spend in college. If he doesn’t manage the game properly, he’ll have plenty of time to learn from those mistakes in the off season.
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Why Garrett was Right to Forfeit

We’ve all heard the argument, I’ve even voiced it in the past week. Dallas should have done everything possible to win against the Eagles on Christmas Eve. Winning wouldn’t have just been poking the eye of a division rival, but could’ve given the Cowboys a playoff safety net entering Sunday night’s game (if the Cowboys would have beaten Philadelphia and the Falcons ended up losing their last two games, Dallas would have still made the playoffs as a wild card if they lost to New York). And Atlanta did lose on December 26th. 

Unfortunately, if they lose to Tampa Bay and the Cowboys lose to New York, this line of thought will dominate the offseason, and it shouldn’t. It would deserve to be addressed, to be sure, but there are too many other things that need to be scrutinized and examined (practicing when and when not to call a timeout?). 

Once word made it to the sideline that the Giants had won, Garrett had a decision to make–and quick. You never know which play will be the one to get Felix hurt…again. He could let an extremely fragile player finish the game, continue to be aggressive with a backup quarterback, and hope that the nagging injuries to Ware and Ratliff weren’t aggravated. He could also take all of those risks, still lose the game, and then hamstring their ability to win against the Giants. Garrett made a quick decision–take Felix Jones out of the game, leave Romo on the sideline, and live to fight on New Year’s Day. It’s true that he was closing the door on an additional road to the postseason, but it wasn’t likely to happen anyway. Garrett knew that no matter what, now, win in Week 17 and then anything can happen. Managing injuries, at the expense of a meaningless game, gave Dallas the best chance to win the game that did.  

Garrett trusts this team to put itself in a position to win with healthy players. This was the safer bet. It was the right one.