Andy Dalton signing with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason somehow flew a little bit under the radar. Some believed it was a move to pressure Dak Prescott into signing a long-term contract, while others just saw it as a savvy business move by the Cowboys front office. Both could certainly be true, but it certainly means diddly squat now.
The only thing that matters right now is Andy Dalton is the Dallas Cowboys only hope of reaching the playoffs after losing Dak Prescott to a freak season-ending ankle injury. Luckily, thats something the former Cincinnati Bengals QB knows a thing or two about. He's led the Bengals to multiple playoff berths in the past and now has a chance to do the same with the Cowboys.
It's somewhat surprising to think about the Dallas Cowboys making the playoffs right now after the way they've played through the first five weeks of the season. They look nothing like a playoff caliber team, despite how talented their roster looks on paper. Surprisingly though, they are in first place in the NFC East division and as such would make the postseason if the season were to end today.
Typically losing your starting QB for the season automatically eliminates a team from reaching the postseason, but not always… Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles. Surprisingly enough the Dallas Cowboys are still in pretty good hands now that Andy Dalton is forced to take over for Dak Prescott. Their playoff hopes are still very much alive.
Andy Dalton's experience in the regular and postseason is certainly going to help, but the Dallas Cowboys remaining strength of schedule is what could make all the difference. As of right now there are only two teams they play with winning records (Steelers, Ravens) and one team that's not below .500 (49ers). Because of that they have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league.
It's odd to think of the Dallas Cowboys as a playoff team. They lost their starting QB and both of their starting offensive tackles for the season, not to mention their defense is performing historically bad. Despite all of that reaching the playoffs is still a very real possibility. For that to happen though, Andy Dalton is going to have to lead them there.
I've personally followed Andy Dalton's career from high school till now and have full faith in him as the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys. I believe he's more than capable of getting them back to the playoffs, however, I don't think he needs to carry that burden alone. Every single one of his teammates can play better than they have thus far this season.
If the Dallas Cowboys don't make the playoffs Andy Dalton will no doubt receive the majority of the blame, however, it's important to remember this is a team sport. As a three-time Pro Bowler I have full faith No. 14 will do his part, but everyone else around him needs to do the same. Only time will tell though if they can or will.