The last two weeks have been a disaster for the Dallas Cowboys. After being dismantled in Chicago by the Bears two weeks ago, the Cowboys returned home and seized a 26-3 lead over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. It appeared that it would be a great day for Dallas and that they would finish things off in the second half for a much-needed win over a good Green Bay side.
If only it was that simple.
Instead, the Cowboys somehow managed to completely come apart in the second half and saw their 23-point lead completely slip away from them. The Packers scored five second-half touchdowns, including the game-winner on a one-yard run from Eddie Lacy with 1:31 to go in the game.
The final scene on Sunday in Dallas was one of absolute heartbreak for the team and their fans, and immediately, questions were sparked up about the future of the organization.
The questions need to be put on hold, though, because frankly, as bad as Sunday's loss was for the Cowboys, they are still in good shape to make the playoffs.
Over these final two weeks of the season, NFL teams and fans across the country will be scoreboard watching, hoping that their favorite team gets the necessary help around the rest of the league to get into the playoffs.
Fortunately for Dallas fans, they will only need to have their eyes on two games. Dallas vs. Washington this week and Dallas vs. Philadelphia next week. Win both of those games, and the Dallas Cowboys are in the playoffs.
There are certainly a lot of problems with this Dallas team, though. A lot of those problems were exposed Sunday. The Cowboys made questionable play calls down the stretch, opting to throw the ball while leading in the second half rather than running the ball and trying to eat up as much clock as possible against the 25th-ranked rush defense in the NFL.
The Cowboys defense, which has been one of the worst in the NFL all season, could not have been much worse than it was in the second half on Sunday, as it allowed a touchdown on every one of Green Bay's second-half drives, with the exception of the Packers coming out in the final minute to run out the rest of the time in the game.
Then there was Dez Bryant walking off the field and heading to the Dallas locker room before the game was finished. There were the questions once again about Tony Romo and whether he was an elite-enough quarterback in key situations. And of course, there were the questions on the future of Jason Garrett as the head coach of the team.
Everything was blown out of proportion because of the magnitude of the loss the Cowboys suffered, but certainly, there are problems in Dallas.
They could all soon be forgotten, though. It all depends on how the Cowboys want to finish their season.
Certainly, if Dallas got into the postseason by winning its final two games, it would not be the first time we have seen a team sneak into the playoffs with problems abound. Look at the New York Giants just two years ago. They had lost five of their last six games going into the final two weeks of the season. They were 7-7—just like this Cowboys team—and there was much of the same buzz about coaches being fired and players not being elite enough to win big games—just like there currently is in Dallas.
Those Giants went on to win their final six games and were crowned Super Bowl champions.
Now that was of course a very extreme case with the Giants, and I am not at all saying the Cowboys are going to crash the playoff party and ride a magical wave all the way to the Super Bowl. But as they say, stranger things have happened.
All Dallas needs to do is focus on one opponent at a time.
This week, it's Washington; next week, it's Philadelphia. And then maybe there will be another one after that.
With only 16 games in a season, the NFL will always be a league revolving around one simple question: What did you do for me last week?
This last two weeks have certainly been bad for the Cowboys, but by winning their final two games, they could quickly put the painful memories aside. All they need to do is refocus themselves.