I know the season is only a quarter of the way through, but it is pretty obvious that the Cowboys have reached an early season crossroads. I don't know what needs to change, but something needs to happen to give the Cowboys their confidence back. A win this week against the Chiefs is not the answer but at least it would be a start. I was looking at the remaining twelve games today to see if I could envision a realistic scenario where the Cowboys still end up in the playoff picture. Here is what I am thinking. I am going to play out the season using two approaches...one will be my optimistic view of things if they can get rolling again. The other one being the same level of play from the team continuing for the rest of the season.
@ Kansas City - This game is a win no matter how I look at it. The Chiefs are flat out terrible.
Glass half full - win (3-2)
Glass half empty - win (3-2)
ATLANTA - This is not going to be an easy game. Atlanta plays solid fundamental football so the Cowboys have to go out and win the game playing good football. They have to play better to beat a team like Atlanta.
Glass half full - win (4-2), the Cowboys come out of the bye week with a renewed intensity
Glass half emtpy - loss (3-3), the Cowboys continue losing close games to good teams
SEATTLE - This is the type of game the Cowboys can win even if they continue playing ugly football. But Matt Hasslebeck can beat you if you aren't careful.
Glass half full - win (5-2), the Cowboys start to get on a roll with their 3rd win in a row
Glass half empty - win (4-3), the Cowboys eek out an ugly win at home
@ Philadelphia - The Eagles are always a tough matchup regardless of the circumstances. On the road things will not be easy. I don't envision a victory for the Cowboys here...not that it can't be done.
Glass half full - loss (5-3), the Eagles take advantage of a few Dallas miscues to win a close game
Glass half empty - loss (4-4), the Eagles destroy the Cowboys as their season begins to collapse
@ Green Bay - It is never easy to go to a place like Green Bay and win. But the Cowboys have always played good football against the Packers.
Glass half full - win (6-3), Tony Romo lights up the Packers in Green Bay to make a triumphant return to Wisconsin
Glass half empty - loss (4-5), the Cowboys battle to the end but lose another 4th quarter lead as the season slips away
WASHINGTON - I don't care if the Redskins are still horrible and have fired their coach by this point, they always play the Cowboys tough. The Cowboys win this game if they have found their mojo.
Glass half full - win (7-3), the postseason hopes look bright as the Cowboys have won five of their last six games, the bandwagon fans begin piling back on the wagon
Glass half empty - win (5-5), the Cowboys usually split with the Redskins and I don't see that trend changing here
OAKLAND - The Raiders are just flat out horrible. I don't see the Cowboys losing this game unless Romo and Kitna are both injured at this point in the season.
Glass half full - win (8-3), the Cowboys are really beginning to play with confidence but the national media still questions whether they can win in December
Glass half empty - win (6-5), even with the Cowboys playing mediocre football they are still keeping their fans hanging on to playoff hopes...barely
@ New York Giants - We saw in week two that the Cowboys can play with the Giants. They only win if they are playing good football.
Glass half full - win (9-3), revenge is a big motivating factor and the Giants gave the Cowboys motivation by trashing the visitor's locker room and spitting all over Cowboys Stadium
Glass half empty - loss (6-6), the Cowboys get steamrolled by a superior team, playoff hopes are on life support
SAN DIEGO - This is a tough matchup but the game can be won. If the Cowboys play a solid game they can beat the Chargers
Glass half full - win (10-3), not only are the Cowboys right in the playoff picture, but a division title is still possible
Glass half empty - loss (6-7), yet another heartbreaking loss as the Cowboys let a 4th quarter lead slip away
@ New Orleans - The Saints are a tough matchup for any team. I don't see the Cowboys going into the Superdome and winning this one.
Glass half full - loss (10-4), the doubters are predicting another December collapse
Glass half empty - loss (6-8), the season is officially down the toilet as the Cowboys get thrashed
@ Washington - I predicted a split in the series based on history. The Cowboys won the first game.
Glass half full - loss (10-5), the December swoon is in full gear as the Cowboys lose on some sort of whacky play
Glass half empty - loss (6-9), fans are hoping the Cowboys lose to get a higher pick in the draft
PHILADELPHIA - This game all depends on the situation. If the Eagles are already a lock for the playoffs they might give this game away.
Glass half full - win (11-5), the Cowboys vindicate themselves by erasing the memory of last season's finale to clinch a playoff birth
Glass half empty - win (7-9), the Cowboys beat an Eagles team who rests their starters to keep them fresh for their wildcard playoff game
Now obviously there are so many factors at play with this prediction I am just throwing darts. But the point is that there are a lot of winnable games on the schedule. Those tough games will only be won if the Cowboys clean up their act. There is no way to tell which way things are going this season but I pray something changes to renew my hope in this year's team.