As we head into the Thursday Thanksgiving games, the Dallas Cowboys sit on the edge of things with a possible season defining game when the Los Angeles Chargers visit AT&T Stadium.
After Sunday night’s thumping loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, who are currently the best team in the NFL, The Cowboys record for the season sits at 5-5, a far cry from last year’s dominating performance in the NFC East. Should the record become 5-6 on Thursday night the Cowboys almost certainly won’t see the post-season this time around.
And it’s not just the Cowboys performances that are coming up short, the NFC in comparison to the AFC has so many teams with winning records in second place in their divisions. All 4 second place teams in the NFC have better records than the Cowboys, whilst the AFC has just one, which makes the Chargers game a must win for Dallas.
The Chargers are an inconsistent bunch this year and currently sit 4-6 in their division, a win for them will help their play off push given the poor records of the other teams around their Conference. Dallas, meanwhile, surely can’t play as poorly as they did on Sunday night.
Everyone knew that Zeke Elliott’s suspension would harm the running game, despite good backs in Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. Everyone knows when you take Sean Lee out of the defense, it falls apart. What we didn’t expect was taking an injured Tyron Smith out of the offensive line and the whole game falls apart piece by piece. Chaz Green looked way out of his depth deputising last weekend against the Falcons and his replacement this weekend Tyron Bell faired little better. Smith is expected back on Thursday night, but that could be too little too late for the Cowboys. Lee hopefully will return a week on Thursday, but Elliott is missing until Dallas faces Seattle in late December, the season could be done long before Zeke is back in a Cowboys uniform.
There has been plenty levied at Head Coach Jason Garrett for not addressing issues at half time and making adjustments to counter opposition threats. The Cowboys were out-scored 30-0 in the second half after leading 9-7 at the half, and looked void of any plays to hurt the Eagles. The wide receivers contributed very little throughout the game, good coverage from the Eagles secondary prevented that and Dak Prescott was a little off with throws that made the hands only a few games ago.
The Cowboys schedule after Thursday doesn’t make for good reading as they head into the final month of the season, 2 divisional games against the Redskins and the Giants, followed by the Raiders, Seahawks and Eagles, all with play-off aspirations of their own, to be in control of their own destiny the Cowboys really need to be winning 4 of those 5 plus the Thanksgiving Day game to have any hope of the post-season, it’s a tall ask given the previous two performances, but it’s the NFL, anything can happen!