Every Monday for the last five of them we've sat around every corner of Cowboys Nation and celebrated #VictoryPoloMonday. Our Cowboys didn't play this past week because they were on bye, but that doesn't mean today isn't about celebrating a victory.
At first glance it appears the Cowboys “lost” their bye week because the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles both came away with wins (the Redskins lost, for what it's worth). A wise donkey once said that ogres are like onions, and I believe the same thing to be true about bye weeks – they have layers.
Let's peel back the bye week to find out how the Cowboys actually came away as the victors.
The NFC East
It's easy to be fearful of the Eagles right now. They've won four games on the season, two of which came against the Steelers and Vikings, and Carson Wentz has for the most part looked fantastic. The crazy thing about Philadelphia is that it's not even Carson who's carrying them, it's their defense and special teams.
The #Eagles have scored 4 touchdowns in their last two games:
– 2 have been kickoff returns
– 1 was an interception return
– 1 was passing
While it's easy to fear Philly, I've said on my daily show OchoLive that the true biggest NFC East threat to the Cowboys is the Washington Redskins – who lost in Week 7. This is an offensive league, and while Philly's D/ST are outstanding… the Redskins have the best offense in the division outside the Cowboys.
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is beginning to come closer and closer to his 2015 division-winning form. In the last two weeks he's thrown for 564 yards, 3 touchdowns (not to mention a rushing one), and just one interception all without his number one threat Jordan Reed on the field. When Reed is back they'll be even more difficult to contain.
The Giants won, and that's whatever. Would it have been cool if they lost? Sure. We don't need to worry about the Giants, though. They have yet to put together a competent offense despite theirs featuring Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, they have a huge off-the-field controversy hanging over their heads, and it took Case Keenum being Case Keenum just for them to beat the Rams. They are not a threat.
What's most important to consider as far as the Cowboys Bye Week is concerned is that while the Eagles did win… the Cowboys get to play them next. We get to directly influence Philadelphia and impact how we want this thing to shake out.
The most clear cut way the Dallas Cowboys won their bye week is if you truly believe that this team is for real.
If you're of the mindset that this team is going to do some damage come playoff time – and you should be – then this bye week could not have gone any better. Here's another layer to the onion.
Close your eyes (it's hard to read when you do that, I get it) and think about the best teams in the NFC outside our division. Who you got? This is my list:
- Green Bay Packers
- Minnesota Vikings
- Detroit Lions
- Atlanta Falcons
- Seattle Seahawks
- Arizona Cardinals
The Packers won on Thursday Night Football (a snoozer of a game), but the Cowboys have already beaten them so hold a tiebreaker. Lovely! The Vikings and Falcons, arguably the top two teams outside the Cowboys in the conference, both lost… and that could be huge come time to decide who gets a first round bye.
Detroit won, but this relates back to our NFC East point. The Lions have now beaten both the Eagles and Redskins, and considering that the Cowboys play them on December 26th (the Monday Night Football finale) they'll have a chance to pick up another edge. If the NFC East tiebreakers reach a point of conference games/common opponents, the Cowboys beating the Lions would edge them out over the Eagles and Redskins.
Week 7 gave us one of the weirdest games we've seen in a while in terms of the Sunday Night Football “showdown” in the desert, but the Cardinals and Seahawks walked away with a tie. A tie! That's one half less of a win afforded to whoever would have won. Here is that list updated with these team's season and conference records.
- Green Bay Packers: 4-2 Overall, 3-2 in conference
- Minnesota Vikings: 5-1 Overall, 3-1 in conference
- Detroit Lions: 4-2 Overall, 3-2 in conference
- Atlanta Falcons: 4-3 Overall, 2-2 in conference
- Seattle Seahawks: 4-1-1 Overall, 2-1-1 in conference
- Arizona Cardinals: 3-3-1 Overall, 2-1-1 in conference
The Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 Overall, and 4-1 in conference. They are the only team of these to have at least four wins against NFC teams… that's a huge ace card to have right now.
Thank you Bye Week, you were so good to us.