Cowboys vs. Eagles: Dallas Still More Than Alive in the NFC Playoff Race

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 11, 2012

November 11, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) reacts with head coach Jason Garrett on the sidelines after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-23. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

The desperate Dallas Cowboys are the only NFC East team with even a single victory since Week 8. Dallas found a way to save its season with a tough road win over an equally desperate Philadelphia Eagles team Sunday, giving the 'Boys one last clear opening to save their season.

The New York Giants have now lost back-to-back games. Washington's on a three-game losing streak and out of contention, and Philadelphia's also on its death bed with five straight losses. With New York reeling and facing a much tougher schedule, Dallas, who plays only one .500-or-better team the rest of the way and now has three straight games at home, has a very real shot at stealing this division.

Of course, there are still quite a few concerns. Morris Claiborne was abused Sunday by the Philadelphia passing game, there were still some laughable lapses in coverage, and the pass rush was less than fantastic against what is probably the league's worst offensive line. 

But they put up 30-plus points for the first time this season in Philly, with Tony Romo finally starting to get comfortable deep and Dez Bryant finally stepping up without spoiling the positives with classic miscues. Jason Witten continues to be borderline unstoppable, and suddenly, Felix Jones is conjuring memories of his Arkansas days. 

Keeping in mind that DeMarco Murray should soon be back—as well as the fact that they finally hit a home run on special teams Sunday, with Dwayne Harris taking a punt to the house in the game's ultimate momentum-establishing moment—there's a lot to be encouraged about.

Most importantly, their quarterback is hitting his stride at the right time. Romo's had an off-year overall, but in the last two weeks, he's completed 72 percent of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per pass while posting a passer rating of 102.5. 

This offense appears to be getting hot, and the D won't have a ton of challenges between now and Dec. 30. With that mind, and with nobody running away with anything in their division or conference, the Cowboys should feel at least a little optimistic about their chances entering the season's final seven weeks.