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Successful November Key to Dallas Cowboys NFC East Run

Sitting at 4-3, the Dallas Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East but are by no means in the driver’s seat for the division. The Philadelphia Eagles are tied with the Cowboys in the win column, so Dallas has to continue to win. If the Cowboys hope to win the NFC East for the second consecutive year, they aren’t going to get much help from their divisional rival who bounced back with an emphatic win over the Buffalo Bills last season.

Every game matters in a tight divisional race, but how the Dallas Cowboys perform in the month of November will be the story of the 2019 season.

After failing to take advantage of games against the New Orleans Saints with backup Teddy Bridgewater in or against a poor New York Jets, the Cowboys don’t have any room for error the rest of the way with a tough schedule coming up. Yes, the New York Giants aren’t a team that scares anyone, but going on the road to play a divisional rival isn’t so simple as chalking up a win. The Cowboys have to take that game seriously because they can’t afford another slip up in a game they should absolutely win.

In November, the Dallas Cowboys play five games.

  • Monday, November 4th @ the New York Giants (2-6)
  • Sunday, November 10th vs the Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
  • Sunday, November 17th @ the Detroit Lions (3-3-1)
  • Sunday, November 24th @ the New England Patriots (8-0)
  • Thursday, November 28th vs the Buffalo Bills (5-2)

In Jason Garrett’s tenure as the Dallas Cowboys head coach, the Cowboys have finished November with a record above .500 50% of the time. There best record was in 2018 when they also played five games and came out of the month with a 4-1 record. The lone loss was the surprising two-touchdown defeat to the Tennessee Titans. The 4-1 month helped them get to a 7-5 record by the end of the month and they were able to use that momentum to springboard them to a 3-1 record in December and the NFC East title. In 2011 and 2016, the Cowboys went a perfect 4-0 in November.

Twice in the Jason Garrett era have the Cowboys had a 2-2 record in November. The 8-8 season of 2012 and the 12-4 season of 2014 when the Cowboys lost to the Arizona Cardinals with Brandon Weeden at quarterback. The other loss in 2014, was the surprising 33-10 beatdown handed to the Cowboys by Mark Sanchez and the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving Day.

There have been only two occasions with Jason Garrett as head coach in which the Dallas Cowboys finished with a record under .500. In 2017, when they were going their midseason funk without Left Tackle Tyron Smith and Running Back Ezekiel Elliott and in 2015 when the Cowboys couldn’t find a quarterback to save their life season.

Overall, November has been a really good month for the Dallas Cowboys. In the last three seasons, they’ve gone 10-4 in November. They’ve averaged 23 points per game as an offense. If you take out the three-game stretch where they were missing both Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott (and Tyron wasn’t quite right in the San Diego game), they’re points per game average jumps to 27. On defense they allowed 21 points per game in November from 2016-2018. Again, taking out that stretch, which is arguably the worst three-game stretch during the Dak Prescott era, the defense allowed just 18 points per game in the other 11 games.

November has been good for the Dallas Cowboys.

After the 4-3 start, it’s imperative that the Dallas Cowboys come out of this stretch of games with at least a 3-2 record heading into December. The December schedule isn’t easy by any stretch either, and with it taking likely 10 wins to win the NFC East, anything less than a 3-2 record in November would mean the Cowboys would have to go 4-0 in December against the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Rams, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Washington Redskins.

If the Cowboys play as well as they played in their blowout win two Sundays ago, they’re a team that can play with anybody in the NFL. If they play lifeless in the first half as they did in games against the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets, it’s going to make for a long November.

Sometimes a setback, like the Cowboys faced particularly in the loss to the Jets can be galvanizing to a team. Good teams take the disappointment and rally from it. That’s what they did against the Eagles and seeing the schedule that lies ahead, they know they can’t afford a letdown and need to steal some games that many think they shouldn’t win.

Thankfully, the Cowboys look to be as healthy as they’ve been all season coming out of the bye week. The only player that didn’t participate in practice at all was swing Offensive Tackle Cameron Fleming. Every one of the Dallas Cowboys key contributors was on the field for Thursday’s practice, which bodes well for their availability on Monday Night Football.

This is the month to give thanks with Thanksgiving not far away now. With five games in the 30 day month, the Cowboys’ health and depth will be put to the test by some of the NFL’s best teams. In order for them to have a Happy Holidays, November will have to be good for them. Otherwise, they might be getting coal under the tree come Christmas.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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