The Dallas Cowboys are heading into the fourth quarter of their season and currently sit with a 6-6 record. As of right now, they are still in the playoff hunt and mathematically alive and well after beating the Eagles, 38-33. When you consider the fact that Dallas had opportunities to win games against Baltimore, Atlanta and the Giants for a second time, it certainly adds to the frustration of watching an inconsistent team that is simply capable of more.
The Cowboys have had their share of injuries, missed opportunities and self-inflicted wounds that have contributed to the perpetual mediocrity of this franchise, but at what point does all of this turn the corner for good? Not only is that a difficult issue to address, but the Cowboys still have many unanswered questions with four games to play.
Does this really resemble a playoff-bound team despite coming off a win against Philadelphia? A team playing without a slew of starters and basically relying on a rookie quarterback and running back? The Cowboys are the same team that plays poorly at home, gets off to horrific starts and has to consistently come from behind just to be competitive.
In the NFL you take wins any way you can get them, whether they are stylish or not. At this stage of the season, it's pointless to look back at "what if" scenarios and second guessing, but it's realistic to start being real about the season as a whole and what lies ahead for this team.
With games against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Washington, the Cowboys could've easily won their last game already. Then again, they might surprise us or they could simply fall somewhere in the middle.
Regardless of what lies ahead for this team and what happened through week 13, the Cowboys can still take some positives out of this season as they forge ahead into 2013. Yeah, it might be premature to even broach the subject, but it's a necessity in the game of football. Planning is necessary, and this is particularly true when you're a franchise looking to get back to its rightful place among football's elite.
Let's take a look at some of the positives and lessons this team can build upon and carry into 2013.