I think most of us have come to the realization that the Dallas Cowboys are most likely not destined for the Super Bowl this season. That doesn't make this season a failure. But it would be hard to imagine not viewing the season as a failure after the Cowboys held a two game lead in the division just two weeks ago and seemed to be a lock for the NFC East title.
But a funny thing happened along the way. The team performed with a two game lead just like they have in the 4th quarter of too many games this season. They found a way to screw it up. And it happened so quickly it left everyone wondering what happened. But, just like in the games they lost, there is still time to salvage a playoff spot.
If that is going to happen then the game against Tampa Bay has got to be a win. The Cowboys need to not only win but they need to make a statement. I know it is hard to make a statement in a game that should be an easy win. But a great performance could start the ball rolling in the right direction again for this team.
The Bucs are a mess. They are in an awful downward spiral very similar to what happened with the Cowboys right before Wade Phillips was fired last year. Sure, they will come out fired up for a big game against the Cowboys. But they are also only a few early scores away from quitting completely.
And so a quick start is what they Cowboys will need this week. They can't mess around with taking this game down to the last minute. The Cowboys have no more margin for error on the season. They need three straight wins and this should be the easiest of the three.
I'm not going to spend too much time breaking down who needs to do what in this game. We all know it at this point. Felix Jones needs to play this week like he did last week minus the fumble. Tony Romo needs to continue to play excellent football. And, for the love of God, the defense needs to pull their heads out of their rear ends.
Rob Ryan has promised that many of the communication issues that have plagued the defense have been fixed. I find that hard to believe. If it were so easy why wasn't it fixed months ago? I don't want to hear any excuses from anyone on the defense. They all need to play better. Line up and beat the man across from you. Scheme plays a part in the outcome but there haven't been many guys winning their one-on-one matchups lately.
I think the Cowboys will come out very motivated this week. I think the team will have a chip on their shoulder after the way things went down last week. I expect to see a blowout victory that is clinched in the third quarter. I like nothing more than to see a healthy dose of Sammy Morris and Stephen McGee in the 4th quarter. I'm picking the Cowboys to win 35-20 and it won't be as close as that score sounds. And Jason Witten is dues for a big game. Don't be surprised if he has 10+ catches in this one.