Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are the Dallas Cowboys Really Ready to Contend for a Super Bowl?

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the great enigmas of professional football.  The type of team that often wows fans before its annual late-season collapse, folks in Dallas are collectively holding their breath, cautiously optimistic in order to avoid a massive embarrassment should the currently 5-1 Cowboys fail to capitalize on their bright start to the NFL season.  But, with the league so wide open and with Tony Romo’s maturity beginning to flourish, could the team stun the NFL and actually win the Super Bowl?

The championship hopes for Dallas rest largely on the shoulders of Tony Romo, which is normal for any football team as the quarterback position is by far the most important.  While fans and media were largely critical of the massive $100 million contract given to Romo last year, he has responded with great play.  Right now his quarterback rating is a solid 100.5, which is only bettered by guys like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Philip Rivers.  It’s also worth noting that such a rating is currently higher than Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady.  If he continues at this pace, the Cowboys will certainly contend.
However, the big issue with Romo is his tendency to collapse in high-pressure situations.  The shining moment of Romo’s career is still his botched field goal hold in the playoffs of 2007, when the Cowboys lost to the Seattle Seahawks.

He did largely rectify the situation with a big win in Seattle this past weekend, defeating the reigning Super Bowl champions on their home turf and playing exceptionally well in the process however.
But a big part of this team’s success falls on their offensive line and their star running back DeMarco Murray, whose 785 yards leads the league by over 200 yards.  We will have to wait and see how he holds up over the full season as he is getting far more carries than any other back, but considering his success it appears to be well worth it.

With this potent and generally safe attack, the average defense currently employed by the Cowboys needs to merely slow opponents down and avoid major errors.  They are ranked pretty middle of the road, but with this impressive offense a title is certainly a possibility in Big D.

The issue falls back to Tony Romo and what might happen in the playoffs.  He’s only played in 4 such games and owns a 1-3 record.  His last playoff appearance was over 5 years ago, and the reason he hasn’t been back is because he stutters when games seem to matter most.  Performing in the clutch is what often separates the greats from the almosts, and until Tony Romo proves himself, those questions about his massive contract will linger.
The other problem for the Cowboys is that their division harbors another 5-1 team, the Philadelphia Eagles.  While such a matchup is going to set up an exciting NFC East race, it does lead to a strong potential for the Cowboys to end up with just a wildcard spot and a tricky road to the Super Bowl.

The fate of the 2014 Dallas Cowboys seems to be bright, but it’s going to be determined late in the season.  Once again, hopes are growing (as they should for any 5-1 team), but we will have to wait and see whether Dallas will get over the hump and win the big games.

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