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Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work 1

2-7.

It's hard to look at. It's hard to type. It's hard to say out loud.

There were a lot of references last week to prior teams that have turned 2-6 records into playoff runs. Those were meant to give the Dallas Cowboys some semblance of hope entering the Tampa Bay game.

"The 1970 Bengals made the playoffs after going 2-6," (in a 14-game regular season, mind you) was our battle cry. "The Panthers lost six in a row and still made the playoffs just last year!" was the coal in our engine of optimism.

That's all gone. All that remains is a 2-7 record.

If you're a Texas Hold'Em aficionado then you know what the worst starting hand in the game is: 2-7 off suit.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work

For all of you Scrabble fans out there that are unaware of why 2-7 is not desirable, there are a lot of reasons why this is a terrible hand.

These are the lowest two possible cards that you can have that cannot make a straight as there are four cards between two and seven.

Even if they are suited and you somehow pull off a flush, your highest holding member of the flush is a seven. Say you manage to pair one of them... congratulations you've got a pair of deuces and unless they're wild you are in some hot water. This hand is so hard to come back from that it's actually referred to as "The Hammer" among poker players. Yikes.

The odds vary on how successful this hand is based on the number of players at the table, and the Dallas Cowboys have now drawn it in a four man game against the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.

I've written extensively here at Inside The Star about some different "plans" for winning the NFC East. The first set of plans blew up in my face when the Cowboys lost to the Eagles at home in Week 9. I sat back down and drew up a second plan last week that got off to a rough start two days ago against the Buccaneers.

Third time's the charm, right?

After some brainstorming thanks to an exchange of Tweets with Chase Aguiar I've come up with yet another plan... this one intent on conquering "The Hammer" hand we've been dealt.

I'm resilient. And I believe in this team... despite their 2-7 record. I'm also listening to "Fix You" by Coldplay while writing this so I'm feeling inspired. Just go with it.

As it stands this is the NFC East through Week 10:

Overall Record Division Record
New York Giants 5-5 2-2
Washington Redskins 4-5 1-1
Philadelphia Eagles 4-5 2-2
Dallas Cowboys 2-7 2-2

The previous variations of my "plans" have involved winning games without a certain star quarterback. We now know: A) that did not happen B) Tony Romo is expected to return this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins

So while I was trying to cook you guys up a "plan" before... I was using a little battery-powered Easy Bake Oven. This team is now cooking with gas. It's going to be delicious.

Here are the games these teams will play over the next nine days with the dates they're played on in parentheses:

Week 11 Week 12
New York Giants BYE @WASH (11/29)
Washington Redskins @CAR (11/22) NYG (11/29)
Philadelphia Eagles TB (11/22) @DET (11/26)
Dallas Cowboys @MIA (11/22) CAR (11/26)

Here's what we need to happen with wins in green and losses in red:

Week 11 Week 12
New York Giants BYE @WASH (11/29)
Washington Redskins @CAR (11/22) NYG (11/29)
Philadelphia Eagles TB (11/22) @DET (11/26)
Dallas Cowboys @MIA (11/22) CAR (11/26)

Say for the first time in 2015 we were to actually catch a break and have this happen (I purposely did not pick the Giants/Redskins game as that does not happen in the next nine days, don't worry).

Then let's fast forward to Thanksgiving Night when you're listening to Aunt Theresa talk about Facebook, figuring out what you're going to buy on Black Friday, and blah blah blah. This would be the situation:

  • The Dallas Cowboys would be 4-7.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles would be 4-7.
  • The Washington Redskins would be 4-6.
  • The New York Giants would be 5-5.
  • We would be three days away from the Redskins hosting the Giants.

Imagine if the Redskins won that game? Tying themselves with the Giants at 5-6? Oh my.

Then we'd have the Cowboys at 4-7, Eagles at 4-7, Redskins at 5-6, and Giants at 5-6 with this coming up:

Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
New York Giants NYJ @MIA CAR @MINN PHI
Washington Redskins DAL @CHI BUF @PHI @DAL
Philadelphia Eagles @NE BUF ARI WASH @NYG
Dallas Cowboys @WASH @GB NYJ @BUF WASH

I know that you're digging the color-coded madness going on so I'm going to throw some more at you. All three division teams showed a lot more (both good and bad) in Week 10 that we should consider when predicting their games. Washington likes that, Odell dropped that, and Philadelphia could be without the services of Sam Bradford for some time.

Remember greens are predicted wins, reds are predicted losses, and blues are toss ups. All of these "predictions" are what I feel is fair. Greens are what these teams should win, reds lose, you get the picture.

Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17
New York Giants NYJ @MIA CAR @MINN PHI
Washington Redskins DAL @CHI BUF @PHI @DAL
Philadelphia Eagles @NE BUF ARI WASH @NYG
Dallas Cowboys @WASH @GB NYJ @BUF WASH

Let's assume that both the Cowboys and Giants win one of their respective toss-ups. Let's even assume that Philadelphia wins theirs. Add those up and you've got:

 At The End Of The Regular Season Overall Record Division Record
Dallas Cowboys 8-8 4-2
New York Giants 7-9 3-3
Washington Redskins 7-9 3-3
Philadelphia Eagles 5-11 2-4

NFC East Champs.


If you've managed to read through all of my plans then let me first say - you're the best. Love you. Thanks for being part of the ride.

As a reward for surviving "RJ's Plans" I've gone as far as to just give you a numerical breakdown of what we need if the schedule grid just isn't your cup of tea.

Through the rest of the season we need (however they come):

  • 4 New York Giants Losses
  • 4 Washington Redskins Losses
  • 4 Philadelphia Eagles Losses
  • 6 Dallas Cowboys Victories

It doesn't sound so scary when you say it like that, right? We just need each division team to lose four times and for us to win six. 4+4+4+6 = NFC East Champs.

That's a lot of data to process. The rest here is just straight from the heart.


This season has sucked. A lot.

I've thought a lot about how maybe if we were 2-7 with our full compliment of weapons it wouldn't be as bad... because part of what has sucked is we haven't gotten to watch our favorite players even play this season.

In some ways it feels like the 2015 season hasn't even started. We skated by the Giants in Week 1 - but we lost Dez. "It's all good! As long as Romo's here we've always got a chance!" was on the minds of every Dallas Cowboys fan... only to watch him go down just one week later. It was brutal reading Tony's lips as he said, "It's broken." out in Philadelphia.

If you're like me and you pictured what winning a Super Bowl would this team would feel like you imagined dominating the season and being one of the league's best teams all year long. You also felt the worst that you have in a long time when the Cowboys fell to 2-7 two days ago.

You know what I know in that the odds of pulling this off are slim - for crying out loud this has never even been done before. In a few months we'll all celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Championship Game that no one has ever won after starting 2-7.

How awesome would it be to be the first?

Tony Romo has been the single most important person to the Dallas Cowboys organization in a long time. You could argue that, based on how the team has been without him recently and historically, that the only single influence larger than Tony's has been Tom Landry's.

Yes, the expectation (and this whole series of plans that I've derived) on Tony Romo is extremely unfair... but imagine if he really does pull it off?

It would be unprecedented in NFL, and arguably all of sports, History. It would prove what you and I have believed all along... Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time.

This "plan" is based on what should happen and there has been no larger lesson learned in the 2015 NFL season than that things don't go according to plan.

For as long as I have watched football the best player that I have ever seen at adapting to things not going to plan is Tony Romo.

So yea, we've been dealt this unfortunate 2-7 hand.

Yea... it has been torture to watch these losses mount up.

It has been two of the more frustrating months in Dallas Cowboys History.

I've now searched for an answer through three different plans. I don't know the future.

One thing that I do know is that if there is anyone on this planet who can turn this 2-7 hand into something special... it's Tony Romo.

That's our quarterback.


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What's keeping your hopes alive for the 2015 Dallas Cowboys? Email me your thoughts at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com or Tweet to me @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Dealt 2-7 Hand: How To Make It Work" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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2 Comments
  • BleedBlue&Silver

    Great work, first time I’ve read any of your articles and will definitely read more. It’s definitely possible, granted we need alot of things to go our way.If the defense can play (not great but decent) like they have without Romo, I believe Romo can put up enough points to win these last 7 games. Heck we shouldve went 6-1 without Romo but that over and done with. So now we move forward with at least a chance which in the NFL is all you can ask for.

    • RJ Ochoa

      Thanks so much, Jarrad!

      I totally agree. Offensively we’re going to be fine, stellar at moments, and passable (no pun intended). I think this defense is meant to play from ahead so if we can get the lead I think they’ll finally be able to rush the passer the way we all fantasized about in the offseason.

Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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Star Blog

How Cowboys Could Regain a 2019 1st-Round Draft Pick

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - 5 Cowboys Players That Could Be Traded
Matthew Edmonds-USA Today

The Dallas Cowboys are currently without a 2019 first-round draft pick after acquiring Wide Receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders, but what if I were to tell you there was a way to regain another first-rounder? Well, with a little outside the box thinking I think there could be a way to accomplish just that.

It's completely hypothetical, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could possibly regain a first-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft with little finagling and good luck. Everything would have to fall into place perfectly, but I think it's definitely doable.

Remember, this is completely hypothetical with a lot of "what if's" involved, but the Cowboys could regain what they lost acquiring Amari Cooper and come out of it no worse for wear. I think there are a lot of different scenarios that could accomplish this feat, but only one of them that doesn't hurt the team in my opinion and it centers around Right Tackle La'el Collins.

I know you're probably going to think I'm crazy, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could possibly land a 2019 first-round draft pick if they decided to trade away RT La'el Collins. Trust me, I wouldn't suggest this if I didn't think there was somebody capable of stepping in and playing just as well.

Enter Connor Williams.

Connor Williams

Dallas Cowboys LG Connor Williams

I always believed Connor Williams' best position in the NFL was at right tackle, not on the inside at guard. And yes, I was one of those advocating for Williams to play RT and Collins to move back to LG before the 2018 season started. I thought that gave the Cowboys their best starting five.

Williams has been serviceable at LG this season, but has been overpowered at times. His athletic ability would've been much better served on the outside at tackle, which is where I would play him next season, making La'el Collins expendable.

Again, I know what you're thinking. If you move Williams to RT and trade Collins, there is now a void at LG. Well, that's where Xavier Su'a-Filo comes into play. He is coming off a fantastic performance against the Philadelphia Eagles and a lot of Cowboys Nation is already advocating that he remains the starter over Connor Williams.

If Su'a-Filo can maintain the same level play he did against the Eagles, he probably remains the starter for the rest of the 2018 season. If this is indeed what happens, he could end up being the starter once again next season, making my plan of trading La'el Collins more feasible.

Were you able to follow all of that?

Keep Xavier Su'a-Filo at left guard

Move Connor Williams to right tackle

Trade La'el Collins

Like I said, this is all hypothetical, but something that could feasibly happen. Now we just have to wait and see if Xavier Su'a-Filo can continue to play like he did last week, because without him sticking at left guard none of this is possible.

I told you it was some out-of-the-box thinking.

Would you go along with the scenario to regain a 2019 first-round draft pick?



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Star Blog

Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su'a-Filo at Left Guard? 1

Don't look now, but we may have another Ron Leary/La'el Collins situation unfolding before our eyes with Xavier Su'a-Filo and Connor Williams. Who ends up starting at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys the rest of the 2018 season is up in the air right now, but might not be for long.

Remember a few years ago when La'el Collins started the season at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys, but then had to miss time due to a toe injury. Ronald Leary took over during his absence and never looked back. It even earned him a big payday with the Denver Broncos.

Déjà vu anyone?

Yes, I'm talking about the hot topic of the hour as to whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should stick with Xavier Su'a-Filo at left guard or reinsert Connor Williams once he is healthy enough to return to the lineup? As with any debate, there are two sides of the coin.

Honestly, I can make an argument for both sides here. These are two different players and both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Su'a-Filo isn't as agile as Williams and relies more on his strength and power, whereas Williams is almost the complete opposite. Depending what the Cowboys coaching staff wants out of their LG, either player makes sense.

Xavier Su'a-Filo

Dallas Cowboys LG Xavier Su'a-Filo

I could go into a long debate as to who I believe the Cowboys should start at LG moving forward, but I think that would be a waste of our time. I think this is a situation that will work itself out one way or another this week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Nothing is set in stone right now, but I have a hard time seeing Connor Williams being ready to play this week after having knee surgery. It would be unwise to rush him back before he's 100% healthy, especially after the way Su'a-Filo preformed against the Eagles. And if Su'a-Filo plays well once again, Williams may not get his starting job back.

See, I told you it was looking like a Ronald Leary/La'el Collins situation all over again.

This is a situation that many of us will be following closely this week and it may not only have ramifications on the rest of the 2018 season, but it could carry over into next year. Maybe Xavier Su'a-Filo remains at LG next year and Connor Williams moves to his more natural position (right tackle), making La'el Collins expendable. But that's a debate for another time.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should stick with Xavier Su'a-Filo at LG?



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