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Will Andy Dalton Lead the Dallas Cowboys Back to the Playoffs?

A Dallas Cowboys playoff berth depends heavily on Andy Dalton’s arm.

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.

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton

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.

Do you think Andy Dalton can get the Dallas Cowboys back to the playoffs?

What do you think?

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Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.


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  1. Well Brian, you seem to have more knowledge about Andy then most people, and you seem to feel he is a very capable QB. My two cents, he is a good QB, and while maybe not quite at the same level of Prescott, with our offensive firepower, he can get us to the playoffs. Part of the reasoning for the positive outlook is that we play in a weak division. I am not sure exactly how much of a drop in talent there is here, but I don’t think there is a major drop. Also we have reinforcements on defense coming back onto the field. So it will be very interesting to see this game on Monday night. If Dalton looks good, AND WE WIN, we may be back in business!

    BTW, Dalton has already won a game, so he is tied with Prescott this year. Giants at home, WITHOUT their best player, should not have been a struggle. We should have drummed them every quarter. Prescott, for all his gaudy stats and accolades, has not produced wins. So we beat two 0-5 teams this year, with one game (Falcons) a gift. That is a recurring trend with Prescott, lose to good teams, beat the slugs.

    I want to agree with you on the FA additions you mentioned in a different article. For sure, we need a DT (Dareus), OT (Waddle), we address a third QB. We have to keep the D-line fresh, rotating in and out, especially against QBs like Murray, who are very elusive. We are thin at DT with the injuries, And as you said Waddle with his experience, can fight for a starting RT position, with at least depth protection.

  2. I understand the positive side spin on this. What other choice do we have right? But to imply that at this point in his career AD is in Dak class….is a master class in spinning. That comparison would be laughed out of any non cowboy site and for good reason, its baloney.

    Every game Dak started he we had a chance to win. I won’t state the obvious and beat that tired drum about how this is a team game. This team may be the worst in the league and as cowboys fan said this team would have been blown out every wk were it not for Dak. Check where we rank in pts scored this yr The offense is doing their part

    This team is bad in every way imaginable. Let’s see how many pts AD can get us every wk Given the fact our D is the worst in the league can he get us 30+ each game? Cuz that’s the only way we will win any games.

  3. Hi Gary b, I don’t think Brian or myself said Dalton is at the same level as Prescott. I don’t see any spinning here. In fact I said there is a drop in talent, just not sure to what degree. Frankly, no one knows with any certainty, but I do not think it is a major drop. But with the defense on the mend (this is a big part of the equation), and being in this weak division, I think we can at least debate the possibility of getting to first round of post season. I happen to think its a real possibility. Not saying we can win a post season game, but we may be able to get there, because of the above reasons. But you’re right and I agree, if the defense doesn’t improve, its going to be a tough remaining season. Gee, I hate to think we are one of the worst teams in the league. Monday night will be a very telling game.

  4. I think the Cowboys will upset the Cardinals next Monday. You can take it to the bank. Dalton will revive the Cowboys. The Cowboys defense is getting back much needed help. So I expect the Cowboys defense to play lights out on Monday Night. We have 2 winnable games in Washington and Philadelphia. The Cowboys will be 5-3 at the half way mark. No way the Cowboys lose to the Cardinals, Washington Football Club and the Eagles. I think Coach McCarthy will have the Cowboys focus, in addition to the added effort to win the NFL East for Dak. Go Cowboys!

  5. VAM Regarding the QB situation I think the scores will tell us how much drop off there is . If we start getting blown out regularly then that will indicate to us that AD was unable to generate the needed pts for us to be competitive. Say what u want about DP but with this team being as bad as they are, he had us in position to win every game. This is a team that is totally reliant on their offense to do all the heavy lifting and give them chances to win.

    But the bigger problem is that this defense is on pace to be the worst in NFL history so it goes without saying we need to score alot of pts to win any games. Not sure how much getting a few players back from injury will help, but we can hope. There are many reasons for this D being so bad. Among them are having the misfortune of hiring a new DC who was trying to implement a complicated defense on the fly with a shortened training camp, devastating injuries and several underperforming players most notably (Poe, J Smith, Dlaw, Griffen, D Thompson).

    I won’t debate the fact that we could very well make the playoffs. But that is more due to playing in one of the worst divisions in recent memory.

    I’m usually more optimistic and I don’t l Iike this side of myself., but this team is so bad on so many levels it’s hard to feel enthusiastic.

    It feets like we are in rebuilding mode and I have zero confidence in Jerry Jones and his ability to make the necessary moves required to get us out of this rut. What we really need is a legit GM but Jerry will never fire himself.

  6. I’m not much into analytics and statistics. I just like to watch game strategy, how players play collectively and how they play individually. I’ve watched Dalton play many games over the last dozen years and, from the eye test, he is a player with NFL starter skills and abilities. I’m not concerned about Dalton’s abilities at all. He may possibly be the best back up (sans Romo) the Cowboys have had in a very long time. When a defense keeps putting an offense in the position of playing from behind and having to throw the ball as much as the Cowboys have had to do, most quarterbacks will make bad throws. It has happened to Dak. Dak has not been perfect. Don’t get me wrong, he’s carried a load and the team on his shoulders but he’s thrown interceptions at critical times and has turned the ball over with fumbles. So, he is human and not superman. Dalton is a solid player. He is not the problem. Like anyone, he will improve with first string practice reps and Game play over the season. Game plan to his strengths and someone, anyone, figure out how to fix this defense! Me thinks they got the wrong DC in place. Anyone remember that fat twin of Rex Ryan they brought in years ago with his complex defense that never did better than 20th in the league prior to his hiring? Yeah, they didn’t do well in Dallas with him either. Huge disaster and it started with him. Fix the defense. I heard there is a guy named Quinn floating around our there who did wonders with the Seahawk’s defense. Dalton is a capable player.

  7. Ur right dalton is a solid QB . But unfortunately with this team solid isn’t good enuf. If you watched the games we’ve scored 30+ pts per game and still couldn’t win. We were in every game but our D just can’t make stops. Unless dalton can get us 30+ each game the results won’t change.

    He needs to put alot of points on the board for us period. DP kept us close and at least gave us a chance to win each game……whether AD can do that remains to be seen.

  8. He will lead us to the playoffs if he can play defense and make some stops to get the offense the ball! Folks we need to face the fact that until our defense can stop some people we are not going to be too successful ! I’m of the opinion that whoever it was that stated earlier in the week for Jerry to have ole Wade Phillips on speed dial ……. that’s a pretty good idea!

  9. Hi Gary B.,

    You make very good points and totally agree the problem is on the defensive side of the ball. It’s just a bad defense. Take your pick: too complex of scheme for players to grasp (?), injuries with back up players not good enough to step in and hold the fort down, Covid limiting implementation of the defensive packages, bad player acquisitions (Poe?), bad coaching as the DC has not been known for having high ranked defenses in other stints. Maybe a little bit of all of that but I can’t put it all on Dalton’s shoulders to carry the team. I couldn’t even put that on Dak or Romo a few years ago. With Dak, we won one game so he is not the solution. With Dalton playing the majority of one game, he won but it wasn’t just because of his play. The offense totally bailed out the defense. There are some real ballers on the offense even with their injuries and turnovers. Much respect for the receivers including the TE, QB play and our new starting center. I’m not giving up the season as a lost cause because of Dalton. It is a lost cause if the defense can’t figure out how to do anything. I never ever believe the pre season hype machine about the Cowboys being contenders to win the SB. The way they’re playing now, they won’t even win the weakest division in the game. That’s just what my old eyes show me. I’m still hopeful they can right what is wrong and at least make the East challenging. If they get into the playoffs because they were the best team in a bad division, they will get bounced out in the first wild card game just like New Orleans got trounced by the Seahawks a few years back when the won the South with a 7-9 record.

  10. Stephen Gregory- Good post with many good points! Unfortunately this team is obviously deficient in many areas….most of which don’t have anything to do with the QB. But my point is that Dak had us in the position to win every game, despite a poor OL and an ineffective Elliott. If we start losing games by large margins, it’s kinda hard to discount that Dak kept a horrible team competitive and gave us a better chance to at least have a chance to win games, which is all u can ask for. It’s likely this D continues to hemorrhage pts to opponents, which will necessitate us scoring a lot. I’m just not sure AD can bring that much firepower to the position.

  11. Hi again Gary B.,

    Sad but probably true. Dak had chemistry playing a couple years with some of them that Dalton will have to build. To win some games, doesn’t matter who is QB, they have to STOP turning the ball over and getting themselves in a hole where they have to play from behind most of the game. Those turnovers are priority #1 on offense. On defense? I don’t have a clue because the personnel, as a group, have been putrid. I don’t even have a guess where to start but I would say bringing in an extremely high paid safety on the downside of his career would not be the place I would start or even finish in trying to sort out that mess. Yet, again, much respect to Aldon Smith. He has been fantastic but they have got to figure out that mess. The Browns with an injured #1 RB ran 320 yards on this defense? That’s either a breakdown at every single level on every single play, they do not have good enough personnel or they just don’t care. And, this is just a pet peeve of mine, wrap the darn player up and tackle the player instead of taking bad angles and “tackling” with only the use of a shoulder pad hit but with no arms involved. I would run those DBs and Safeties into the ground in practice until they learned that basic fundamental of a game that’s been played over 100 years. Learn to tackle. Bill Bates tackled players. Darren Woods tackled players. Maybe they should come in and teach the entire secondary that one important thing. Thigh hits with just the shoulder don’t get it. Personally, I would immediately change the DC. That’s a super short leash but 5 games with essentially the same bones of the defense that have played for the last several years and produced better results tells me a little something. There have already been two head coaches removed in the first 5 games. This is a results oriented business. Get Wade or Quinn and fix this mess before it is unsalvagable. Or, get different players because the combination of what they have right now ain’t working.

    Hey Gary, stay safe and we’ll in these Covid times. Been good talking with you and not trading insults or being demeaning to one another as so many others do on these boards. Have a great weekend, and, Go Cowboys!

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