Most would agree that the Dallas Cowboys should have a better record right now than their 4-3 mark after the first seven games of 2019. While that’s good enough to currently lead the NFC East, it leaves little cushion for the Cowboys over the challenging remainder of the regular season.
Losses to the New York Jets and the Brees-less New Orleans Saints were truly disappointing. And while losing to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is rarely an upset, Dallas had home field advantage for that contest.
At worse, the Cowboys really should be 5-2 right now. And if they’d avoided turnovers and general poor first-half play over their last four games, Dallas could be 6-1 or even undefeated right now.
Unfortunately, the easiest part of Dallas’ schedule is now over. They could have really used some more padding to their record during these early games; now there’s very little room for error.
The most ominous date is Week 12 when the Cowboys must travel to New England. Still undefeated in 2019, the Patriots have been nearly unbeatable at home for man years. Even if they play their absolute best football, Dallas could still easily come out of that one with a loss.
Another big one, that can’t be dismissed despite what we saw in Week 7, is the rematch with the Eagles in Philadelphia. This potentially pivotal Week 16 game may have at tremendous impact on the NFC East standings. Dallas picked up a tentative head-to-head tiebreaker a week ago, but will have to preserve it by winning on the road against a likely desperate Eagles team.
One silver lining the rest of the way is the Cowboys’ toughest opponents outside of the Patriots and Eagles all have to come to Dallas. The Vikings in Week 10, the Bills in Week 13, and the Rams in Week 15; these three teams are currently a combined 16-7 on the year.
Road games against the Lions and Bears won’t be easy but Dallas should have matchup advantages in both. Of course, we said the same things prior to some of the earlier losses this year. Hopefully the Cowboys have fixed some of those issues during this bye week.
But beyond adjustments, the best thing coming out of this bye should be some improved health for many key players. Whether they missed playing time or just had limited effectiveness, Amari Cooper, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, La’el Collins, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, and Antwaun Woods have all been battling issues.
No matter how healthy you are, though, sometimes you simply get beat. Those “bad day at the office” games happen, but the Cowboys have already had a few in 2019. They can’t afford many more.
Even if the NFC East can be won with a 9 or 10-win season, that still would leave Dallas facing a tough road in the playoffs. They need to improve their postseason positioning now, and every week hereafter, by not letting more winnable games slip through their fingers.