Dallas Cowboys: This Could Get Ugly

Phil BrennanCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys talks with Tony Romo #9 against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 6, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Call them gutless.

Call them heartless.

Call them underachievers.

Whatever it might be, call it December; the proverbial monkey is on the Cowboys’ back and is looking to sink in the rear-naked choke.

Folks, this could get ugly.

With a chance to sink the Giants' postseason hopes, and put distance between themselves and the Eagles, the Cowboys came up painfully short again.

(Cue the national media saddling this loss on Tony Romo in 3…2…1…)

Once again, against the Giants, the outcome of the game belied the stat sheet.  Dallas dominated the time of possession (38:50 vs. 21:10), won the turnover battle, and was able to pass all over the Giants’ secondary.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the games are played on the field and not the box score.

While Dallas dinked and dunked, accumulating both yardage and time, the Giants landed a couple of huge punches to the Cowboys’ solar plexus by scoring two quick touchdown plays of more than 70 yards.

On the road, in December, it proved to be too much for the Cowboys.

The loss was a double whammy of sorts.  Now tied with the Eagles (8-4) for first place in NFC East, the loss also helped the Giants (7-5), a team familiar with late season playoff pushes, creep back into contention.

With just four games to go, the Cowboys won’t find any relief on the schedule.

In order, Dallas faces the Chargers (@ home), Saints, Redskins, and the Eagles (@ home).

At best, I think the Cowboys could go 2-2 during this stretch.  However, recent history, the quality of opponents, and most importantly my gut tells me it could easily be a lot worse than that.

The problem with the enigma that is the Cowboys is that I couldn’t tell you which ones they probably win or lose?  They’re good enough to beat all of the respective teams, but inconsistent enough to lose them all.

If the there are two games the Cowboys must win, it has to be the games against their division rivals (Redskins and Eagles).  Otherwise, what was unthinkable just yesterday is now a definite possibility: The Cowboys might not make the playoffs.

My how one game can change things?