Coming off the bye week, the Dallas Cowboys have a tough stretch of three teams to play within 12 days, which could determine the fate of the Cowboys’ playoff hopes.
The start of the season has gone over well more than anticipated after the Dak Prescott injury. Not many experts would have expected the Cowboys to have a 4-2 record during Cooper Rush’s time as the starting quarterback. However, Prescott’s return made the offense look more efficient and scored at will.
Dallas is returning from the bye week with expectations even higher than before the preseason. The NFC East division is still up for grabs despite the Philadelphia Eagles’ undefeated season. However, playoffs are very realistic and expected at this point of the season, as the Cowboys should at least secure a top wild card spot in the playoffs.
One of the biggest challenges to the Cowboys’ season starts this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, as that will kick off the first of three games within 12 days. November is a typical challenge for the Cowboys, including the Thursday Thanksgiving game, but this year will be more challenging than others. The reason for that is they must play the Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, and the New York Giants.
While many have doubts about the Packers, all three teams are strong opponents who have proven winners. The Vikings have just one loss, and the Giants have only lost two games (one of which being the Cowboys). It will not be an easy stretch for the Cowboys, but all three games are winnable and could set them up for a strong close to the season.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has not been the same quarterback fans are accustomed to seeing in the past decade-plus. Much of it has to do with the lack of talent at the receiver position and injuries to receivers like Randall Cobb, Romeo Doubs, and Christian Watson. Not to mention running back Aaron Jones is banged up, and star linebacker Rashan Gary tore his ACL in their loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, costing him the season. Green Bay is on a five-game losing streak as their offense is falling apart at the seams game by game.
Should the Cowboys lose this game, the Cowboys will be under scrutiny for a loss that should have never occurred. While it would be wrong to count out Rodgers, this Packers team doesn’t seem to be heading in the right direction, which should mean an easy win for the Cowboys come Sunday.
Outside of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings will be one of the most challenging games on the Cowboys’ schedule this season. Kirk Cousins is rolling on all cylinders at quarterback with multiple weapons on offense, including Dalvin Cook, Jordan Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and newly acquired TJ Hockenson. While their defense hasn’t been highlighted as much, they are also loaded with great defenders, including safety Harrison Smith, sack leader Za’Darius Smith, and leading tackler Jordan Hicks.
The only team this season who has found a way to beat the Vikings was the undefeated Eagles. Now Dallas has their shot at beating one of the top teams in the NFL. They can win the game if the Cowboys’ secondary can hold Minnesota to under 20 points.
New York Giants
One of the season’s biggest surprises has come from the New York Giants. Head coach Brian Daboll has effectively used quarterback Daniel Jones while getting the most out of running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants’ defense has been among the best in the league. The main reason they have produced a 6-2 record.
The last time these two teams played, Trevon Diggs came up with a game-clinching interception to help Dallas win 23-16. So, of course, it’s not going to be an easy win for the Cowboys, but since they have already done so and did it at MetLife Stadium, winning the game at AT&T Stadium seems like a likely possibility.
What Losses To Those Three Teams Mean For The Rest Of The Season
The Cowboys must get off to fast starts against all three teams and beat them. A loss to the Packers could be catastrophic to the season, as they are sitting at a 3-6 record. Minnesota has been behind multiple games but came up big in the fourth quarter to come back and win. The Giants are similar because they are a fourth-quarter team that can close most games.
Even if Dallas has two losses during this stretch, it could hurt their chances at a division title or a high seeding in the playoffs. They might be able to manage a playoff spot, but they still must play the Eagles and Tennessee Titans. That will take a lot of work to get through.
Winning all three games would be paramount for Dallas, as the anticipation is the Eagles will not manage to go undefeated for too long. A top seed in the playoffs is very realistic if the team goes into December with just two losses.