A few summers ago I vacationed in the Denver, Colorado area.

My first day in the Mile High City was quite an eventful one.

I had to drive to the airport in my home city, fly to Denver, take a shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and what was the first item of suggestion upon my arrival (while beginning to deal with the high altitude)?

Let’s go white water rafting!

I’m an easy-going guy so I went along with it. Plus it sounded cool to say that I conquered land, air, and sea all in one day. If you’ve never been white water rafting then let me tell you… it’s quite the chore.

You have to put on an enormous amount of equipment and listen to a lecture of instructions before you even hit the water. When it’s your first day in the climate it can all be a little overwhelming, either that or the altitude was starting to affect me.

After signing forms, putting on the uniform, and grabbing a powerbar we hopped in the boat with our instructor. He had very specific instructions as to how we were going to proceed with every process of this whole excursion.

When I say, ‘Forward one’ I want you guys to all paddle one stroke. ‘Forward two’ means two strokes, so on and so forth.

One stroke here. Two strokes there. Another stroke. And another. This dude had us doing more strokes than Michael Phelps!

This process went on for the whole ride, but hey… we survived! I can still hear him shouting how many paddles to go when it rains sometimes…

With Week 13 officially in the books, let’s all grab our paddles and give Plan IV a nice…

Forward one.

Congratulations! We survived Phase I of Plan IV!

Here are the current standings in the NFC East through Week 13:

Overall Record Division Record
Washington Redskins 5-7 2-2
Philadelphia Eagles 5-7 2-2
New York Giants 5-7 2-3
Dallas Cowboys 4-8 3-2

If you have no clue what in the world I’m talking about then I highly recommend reading Plan IV in its entirety so that you can be caught up with the rest of the class. Got it? Good.

Over the last month and a half or so I’ve put together different “plans” that basically serve as a what-to-root-for-to-win-the-NFC-East guide for Cowboys fans. After three versions were tossed aside, Plan IV has given us something to smile about.

Phase I

During Week 13 the Cowboys caught a huge break when the New York Jets took down their stadium-sharing buddies, the New York Giants.

I know, I know… the Eagles beat the Patriots. As shocking as that is, it really did not affect Phase I of Plan IV. Here’s why:

Phase I was predicated on one simple thing… the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football and climbing to four wins. Obviously if we did that we’d keep the Redskins at bay with five wins, but the Giants were already sitting on five. We needed to keep them there and we did. That was the whole purpose of Phase I.

The Eagles entered their game against the Patriots with four wins to their name so while it would have been preferable to have them sit at four with us, the leader in this race is at five… there’s just three of them there now as opposed to two. It’s all going to be ok, though. I’ll explain in a bit.

Phase II

Here’s what we’ve got going on this week:

  • The Philadelphia Eagles host the Buffalo Bills.
  • The Washington Redskins travel to Chicago to take on the Bears.
  • The Dallas Cowboys travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers.
  • The New York Giants travel to Miami to play the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we want all three division rivals to lose and for the Cowboys to win, but we need to be realistic here.

In Plan IV I predicted that both the Redskins and Giants would win their Week 14 games while Philly would lose theirs. Let’s assume that happens.

I also predicted a win for the Cowboys at the holy cathedral of professional football – Lambeau Field. I felt confident in this a week ago and feel even stronger about it now.

The Packers struggled on Thursday Night Football against the Detroit Lions and if not for a fluky facemask call and amazing hail mary… they’d have just lost four out of their last five. They’re susceptible. And we’re hot.

So say we pull off the win. Say Washington and New York do as well. Say DeMarco Murray continues to whine about his carries and Philly doesn’t. We’d still be a game behind the Redskins and Giants. Relax.

Looking Forward: Phases III, IV, And V

We’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves here because we’re only in Phase II, but here’s what’s in store for the NFC East in Phase III:

  • The Philadelphia Eagles host the Arizona Cardinals.
  • The Washington Redskins host the Buffalo Bills.
  • The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Jets.
  • The New York Giants host the Carolina Panthers.

That’s a pretty tall order for everyone in the division. You can reference Plan IV for how I think those games will fall, but the place where things are going to get really interesting is Phases IV and V of Plan IV.

Between the last two weeks of the 2015 season the Redskins will play the Eagles and us while the Giants and Eagles will also square off. Assuming a win for the Cowboys over Washington in the season finale, there are two other NFC East games going on here… that’s two losses that we have to hand out.

Phases II and III are going to determine where exactly we want those losses to fall in the final weeks of this season, but we need to be patient.

Phase I went over pretty well all things considered and if we can climb out of Week 14/Phase II with another win beneath our wings then we will enter the final Phase of non-division games with a lot of momentum and more potential options down the road.


RJ Ochoa on Fancred

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How optimistic are you about Phase II? Comment below, Email me your thoughts at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me @rjochoa!

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