Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Game to Decide the Season

This is it. The game we have been waiting all season to see. Win and the season will likely be viewed a success. Lose and the sky will be falling. One game to decide it all.

There is no way to predict how this game will play out. The easy thing to do is predict another shoot out just like the first game between the Cowboys and the Giants this season. But how often do two games in a row play out the same way? It just doesn't tend to happen that way.

The Cowboys defense just isn't very good. I have tried to justify their performances throughout the season in different ways. But the reality is that they just don't perform at a high level for long stretches of time. Sometimes they are dominant for a quarter or even a half. But at some point they always seem to go soft. And they never seem to be at their best in the critical moments of the game. So the defense is what concerns me the most heading into the Sunday night showdown.

Demarcus Ware has put up 18 sacks this season. But how many of those sacks have come in game defining moments? Sean Lee has had some big plays. But how many of those big plays have come when the team needed them the most? There just doesn't seem to be a player on the defense that steps up when the moment gets big. I don't think we can expect that to change Sunday night.

So that means that the offense and special teams have to be on top of their game. Tony Romo should be good to go coming back from his hand injury. The Cowboys can't afford many turnovers from their offense in the game. And Romo needs to lead his offense to touchdowns, not field goals. The funny thing heading into the game is that Romo is one of the last guys on the team I am worried about. He has been playing lights out for quite a while and he has stepped up in big games before despite what his critics would have you believe.

Felix Jones and Sammy Morris will be very important as well. The Cowboys don't need to get into another game where the last offense with the ball wins. They need to control the clock and the game with the running game. Felix Jones should be healthy for this one. Derrick Dockery starting for Montrae Holland is a bit of a concern but I don't think there will be a noticeable difference in the running game with Holland out.

Dwayne Harris showed a little spark in the return game last week. Maybe he can finally provide some juice to the kick return game. Dez Bryant will be used on punt returns a lot more this week since there is nothing to save him for at this point. I give the Cowboys a big edge in special teams if Dez Bryant is going to get a lot of work returning punts. Of course that means that the defense actually has to force a few punts for Dez to get his opportunities.

I really could see this game going either way. The Giants could get out to a quick start and then pound the Cowboys into submission with Brandon Jacobs. Or the Cowboys could get out to a quick start and control the clock with the running game. Or it could be another shootout. I could even see Eli Manning and Tony Romo both come out a little shaky and the scoring stay down. Both teams have been so inconsistent this season it has been maddening to the fans of both the Giants and the Cowboys.

I'm going to pick with my heart. My head tells me to flip a coin. My heart tells me that Romo is playing the best football of his career and it is time for him to turn the corner and become respected as a big time quarterback. That means he needs a win Sunday night. I think the Cowboys will get the win. I'm picking the Cowboys to win the game 27-20. Of course, it will come down to the last minute. You can bank on that based on the way the season has gone.


  1. This game is on the defense. The rest will fall into place because Romo will get the offense going. Plays NEED to be made on defense, all of them not someone not just D-Ware, need to step up! We need turnovers like never before! I want to see passion on that D-Line i want to see some sacks and i want to see Eli extremely uncomfortable. Lets go BOYS!

  2. I think this game is going to be lights out and unexpected. I can see Romo going 21-27, 300+ yards, with 2 picks, Eli Manning slightly higher yardage and pass attempts with a pick. I think they will use Dez on kickoff returns as well. They will try to get his hands on the ball every chance they get. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Dez and Feliz back there.

    I think special teams, given the above, will score a touchdown or come pretty damn close. I think you're going to see some players step up on defense that we really haven't seen all year. I really give Spencer a hard time, but I think he comes through on Sunday. Abe Elam is working for a paycheck next year and saw what his buddy Sensebaugh got. I also think Bruce Carter, in some way (special teams or defense) is going to make a play.

    Last time we were in NY playing the Giants, we saw a lot of unsuspected play from rookies and I think it happens again.

    I'm actually not particularly worried about our secondary. They'll get torched at times, but Romo will keep us in the game. The one threat I am worried about is Brandon Jacobs. If he gets the opportunity to rush for over 100 again, then Manning will be lights out.

    My heart says Cowboys but my gut says Giants. I'll go with my heart, Cowboys 31-28. Bailey comes through in the clutch.


  3. According to your weekly predictions the Cowboys should be 16-0.

  4. Both teams are 8-7 but the Giants had a tougher schedule so they are the stronger team. Giants win unless Manning (Mr inconsistent) has one of his bad days so lets hope he's due for a bad game after a good one against the Jets. Cowboys on the road for a big playoff type game brings to memory huge losses in Minnesota and Philadelphia in recent years.

  5. I may have picked them to go 16-0. It is hard for me to pick against my team. I guess my heart wins out over my head every week regardless of the opponent.

  6. Win or lose tonight we can at least be thankful that the Cowboys gave us a season that remained interesting until the final game. Last year this wasn't the case and many teams can't say as much this year.

  7. Game over man game over. abysmal failure on all fronts. Wake up Cowboys fans and find a new team. I know I will. Only way to get change is if jjs palace goes empty.

  8. Wow, I'm speechless. Garrett is an as*&ole, JJ is an as@*ole..

    That being said, Romo has won me over a bit. i was hard on him early, but he made a believer in me.

  9. First off, R2W, maybe pick Dallas to lose every game next year. (Kidding)

    First off, i'm too lazy to check, but according to TV, JG is 8-10 when leading in the 4th quarter. Thats 8 losses. Amazing, he needs to step back and look at himself in the mirror.

    Secondly, they did make great half time adjustments on offense, however, they should have learned that from the first meeting and it shouldn't have taken them 6 quarters to figure that out.

    Third, QB sneak, really???? Moving the ball all over the field and we decide to sneak it??? Really???? Bad call. No, I don't think we should have kicked it, however, I do think we should have passed.

    T-New is gone this off season. I love him, but he is just not quick enough. They made him look stupid and I hate to see him go down that way. Our offensive line........pathetic

    Our defense, pathetic. I am ready to ditch Rob Ryan. I am ready to ditch the entire defensive coaching staff. Don't be suprised if JJ does that this off season.

    Stupid me, actually for a moment, i thought we had a chance. What the hell was i thinking???

    The game isn't even over yet, I turned the TV off. First time I have ever done that. Next year, I don't look for us to do anything except be the punching bag of the NFC East!!!!!!

    Geez, how could I really believe we were going to win this game????

    Anyway, just venting, til next year guys


  10. I have been a Cowboys fan for a long time. It is time to clean house. I have never seen such a lackluster showing by a Cowboys team. Garrett and Ryan should be fired. Newman should be released. He couldn't tackle a turtle. Until these three tasks are completed, I will do something better with my time than watch an unmotivated group of men just go through the motions. I guarantee you that.

  11. R2W,

    Great blog and I will continue to read. Sad to see out beloved team look so pathetic. It hurts. I can't swear off the cowboys, but they sure make it tough to like them as a team.

    I spent a lot of money to take my family to the Eagles/Cowboys game and I swear that I will never spend another dime on this team as long as JJ calls the shots and Garrett is still a head coach....

    Time to put my Cowboys windbreaker away for a while...

  12. that is great.
    i like rugby game and i have an iphone game of rugby.
    when i get bore so i just play that with my iphone and.