The Cowboys' loss to the Packers is not that big of a deal

12/16/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

After leading the Green Bay Packers by a score of 26-3 at halftime on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys endured one of the most embarrassing halves of football in the NFL this season. The team failed to make proper halftime adjustments, leaning on the passing game despite a sizable lead. Running back DeMarco Murray was sensational on the day, rushing for 134 yards on 18 carries, but he received an unfathomably low workload of just seven carries in the second half, with only three coming in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys blew their huge halftime lead, falling to the Packers by a score of 37-36.

Blog Photo - The Cowboys' loss to the Packers is not that big of a dealThe loss was humiliating for a number of reasons. Quarterback Tony Romo threw two crippling interceptions, supporting those who criticize his inability to play well in big moments. Wide receiver Dez Bryant stormed off the field before time had expired because he was too emotional to stay on the sidelines. It was a game that could end up getting head coach Jason Garrett fired during the offseason. However, the loss was not as detrimental to the Cowboys' season as most are making it out to be.

Despite embarrassing themselves on national television, the Cowboys continue to control their own destiny in regards to making the playoffs. With two games left in the season, the Cowboys simply have to pull off two straight wins to make their way to the postseason. Yes, they trail the Philadelphia Eagles by one game for the NFC East lead, but they play the Eagles in Week 17. If the Cowboys enter Week 17 down by a game and pull off a win, they will tie the Eagles in the standings and secure the tiebreaker (they beat the Eagles earlier in the year), giving them the NFC East title.

Where a win would have been great for the Cowboys is if they lose in Week 16 to the Washington Redskins. If the Cowboys had held on to beat the Packers, they would have been able to lose to the Redskins, and a win over the Eagles in Week 17 would have gotten them into the playoffs, regardless of the Eagles' Week 16 result. In their current situation, the Cowboys can only afford to lose to the Redskins if the Eagles lose to their Week 16 opponent, the Chicago Bears. However, this should not be an issue for the Cowboys, as the Redskins are 3-11 and have turned to their backup quarterback, Kirk Cousins. The Cowboys beat Robert Griffin III and company 31-16 back in Week 6, and the Redskins have lost six straight games. If the Cowboys are a playoff-caliber team, they should have no trouble topping the Redskins.

That means that all the Cowboys need to do is beat a 3-11 team, then essentially play their first round of the "playoffs" (because it will be win-and-in for both teams) at home against the Eagles. The Cowboys still control their own destiny and are squarely in the playoff hunt.

The biggest fallout from the Cowboys' loss is that they could potentially have clinched a playoff berth before even facing the Eagles. The Eagles will face a good Chicago Bears team in Week 16. Had the Cowboys won over the Packers, they could have clinched in Week 16 with a win and an Eagles loss. Of course, I think the Eagles - with the best rushing attack in football - will top the Bears, who have the league's worst run defense, so that clinching scenario for the Cowboys probably would not have happened even if they had beaten the Packers.

What I am saying is that, assuming the Eagles beat the Bears, the only fallout from the Cowboys' loss to the Packers (aside from internal turmoil and deflated morale) is that they now have to beat a 3-11 football team in Washington. People are acting like the world is over for the Cowboys, but they still control their own destiny and have a relatively feasible path to the postseason. I agree that blowing a 26-3 halftime lead to Matt Flynn's Packers is humiliating, but as far as the Cowboys' playoff scenario, it really did not have that great of an effect.
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12/16/13   |   kantwistaye   |   4216 respect

I get that its not a big deal in that Dallas can still make the playoffs by winning out, but they may have cost themselves the three seed in the playoffs and to the Packers no less.  It still had some consequence.