Eagles vs. Cowboys: Don't Be Fooled by Victory, Dallas Isn't Going Anywhere

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) celebrates after a victory against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-33. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

While it is logically sound, I don't subscribe to the broad, rudimentary philosophy that "a win's a win." And thus what concerns me the most about what happened Sunday night is that, at home and with their season on the line, the Dallas Cowboys played a fairly even game with the Philadelphia Eagles

For the second time in four weeks, Dallas had to come back in the fourth quarter to defeat one of the league's worst teams—one that hasn't won since the month of September. This game could have gone either way.

And that's been the Cowboys' problem far too often this season. Dallas hasn't clearly outplayed an opponent since beating the New York Giants in the first game of the NFL season. 

Yes, on paper, they're still alive at 6-6. But they still don't feel alive. It's concerning that Tony Romo had to put up a near-perfect passer rating just so that his team could beat a bad opponent by five points. 

These are facts:

  • The defense is too depleted from injury. Bryce Brown had a field day against that extremely shorthanded linebacking corps, and Philly's rookie quarterback, Nick Foles, was able to have his best performance of the year against an inconsistent secondary. I cannot believe the 'Boys had only one sack against Foles and that offensive line.
  • The offensive line is a mess. Doug Free doesn't deserve to be on an NFL roster, let alone on the field as an every-down right tackle. There's only so much Romo and DeMarco Murray can do.
  • They start far too slow. Romo had to complete all 10 of his second-half passes to get them back. Philly hadn't led all season after one quarter until Sunday night.
  • The schedule's softest spot is now behind them. Their next two opponents are 7-5 and they'll likely be underdogs in Washington to finish the year. Their weakest remaining foe is a very talented New Orleans Saints team.

Had Seattle not pulled a rabbit out of its hat in Chicago, the Cowboys would be tied for the last wild-card spot in the NFC right now, and the fans would have even more false hope than they might already possess. 

Don't get your hopes up, Dallas fans. This is a mediocre football team. And if Sunday night's performance was an indication of what's to come, the final quarter of the season won't be any more rewarding than the first three.