This was not the way the Dallas Cowboys or their fans expected the 2019 season to unfold. After going 10-6 and winning the NFC East last season, the expectations for this franchise going forward went up by leaps and bounds. The season started off fantastic as the Cowboys began 3-0. However, they've lost eight of their last 12 games since which has included two three-game losing streaks. At 7-8 they're currently on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned.
The Cowboys need some help if they're going to make it to the postseason. They need to beat the Washington Redskins on Sunday and hope that the New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles. Frustrating truth for a team that led the division all season long before their Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Offensively, the Cowboys have gotten big contributions from their most important weapons. Quarterback Dak Prescott will finish just shy of 5,000 yards passing, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are each over 1,000 yards receiving, and All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott will finish with around 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns. All this has led to the Cowboys being second in passing yards, eighth in rushing yards, and the top-ranked offense overall. However, they're only 17th in touchdown percentage in the red zone and eighth in points per game. The Cowboys offense has been good from 20 to 20 but they don't score a lot of touchdowns in the red zone and have to settle for field goals. No consistency.
On defense, the Cowboys have regressed from the top-seven unit they were in 2018. They've fallen behind 31-3 to the Green Bay Packers, 21-3 to the then 0-4 New York Jets, and 24-7 to the Bears. On the other hand, they've also had games where the defense has shut down opponents. They held the Miami Dolphins to six points, the New Orleans Saints to 12, and the New England Patriots to 13. They only consistency they've shown is being inconsistent.
If all the stars align and the Cowboys do make the playoffs their opponent will be either the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers are second in total defense, second in scoring offense, second in rushing yards, and sixth in total offense. The Seahawks are third in rushing, seventh in total offense, and in the top 10 in scoring. Either would be very difficult to beat for the Cowboys even if they played elite-level football, which they haven't proven they can do consistently all season.
The likelihood of the Cowboys making the playoffs is slim but even if they do can there be any real confidence they could advance past the 49ers or Seahawks? You never know which version of this team you're going to get. Time and time again this season they've started slowly and I don't feel they could overcome that against either of their potential playoff opponents. The Cowboys would be losers in four of their final six games heading into the postseason which doesn't leave a lot of hope for a deep playoff run. How will all this play out? We'll know this Sunday.