Cowboys vs. Eagles: Victory Will Spark Playoff Run for Dallas

Ethan GrantAnalyst INovember 12, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles is sacked by Victor Butler #57 of the Dallas Cowboys during the third quarter in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-23. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Get ready for the Jerry Jones rhetoric hour on Tuesday morning. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-23 on Sunday afternoon, and Jones and the rest of the team faithful will be starting up the playoff train talk yet again.

Only this time, they might have a point.

Things are clicking at the right time for Dallas. Facing a must-win against Philly, the defense and special teams came up big when the offense wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire, accounting for three touchdowns that virtually put the game out of reach.

Tony Romo played turnover-free football in the interception department for just the third time in nine games. Felix Jones actually looks like a running back, and Bruce Carter and Ernie Sims have given fans enough reason to temporarily forget about Sean Lee and Dan Connor.

The secondary has been stellar all season, despite the loss of starting strong safety Barry Church and the inclusion of rookie Morris Claiborne to the starting lineup.

On Sunday, everything seemed to click for the first time all season. Dallas took Michael Vick out of the game with consecutive hard hits in the second quarter and pestered rookie QB Nick Foles into big mistakes for the eventual win.

Looking forward to the final seven games, Dallas has a chance to run the table. No, not a Jerry Jones, talented-laden, America's team, entitled chance, but one that's built off reasoning and what the strengths of this team currently are.

First, and maybe most importantly, DeMarco Murray is close to retuning from injury. ESPN's Calvin Watkins had the scoop:

DeMarco Murray said he hopes to play next week.

— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) November 12, 2012

With a healthy Murray and motivated Jones, combined with the presence of Lance Dunbar, Jason Garrett has no excuse to not keep the play-calling balanced. When Dallas is balanced, they have a better chance to succeed. It's been that way for most of Garrett's tenure.

A consistent running game will only make the attack more potent. On defense, Carter's emergence as a true signal-caller and lead dog will help the defense survive Lee being out.

The schedule also plays favorites with the Cowboys, who only see one team out of the last seven that has a winning record. Granted, a three-game stretch against Cincinnati, New Orleans and Pittsburgh will likely decide the season, but those are all winnable games.

Dallas has shown the ability to compete with the league's elite. Losses to Baltimore and Atlanta proved that, after the Cowboys had a chance to win both of those games.

Jason Garrett can officially be taken off the hot seat and take care of business on the football field. Cleveland will prove to be a winnable game against an inferior opponent, while two games against Robert Griffin III and Washington won't be easy, but will be vital to success.

For the first time since Jerry began making the "window's closing" and "too much talent" comments, the Cowboys have a chance to back it up. It's starts with Cleveland, but it ends with a playoff berth, when Dallas finds a way to win 10 games and make the big dance.

 

Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.