NFL fans don’t have a middle ground when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. They either love them or hate them.
Those who despise them love to tease their fans about the team’s postseason futility over the last quarter-plus of a century.
The team’s ardent followers, though, remain incredibly loyal. They should be saluted for their national and undying dedication despite so many years of frustration.
In Week 6, the admirable loyalty of diehard Cowboy fans will get rewarded as this season’s edition gets to engage in a marquee showdown with a top rival. Dallas has ridden the wave of a strong defense to hang right near the undefeated Eagles in the NFC East.
The Cowboys will now will be on a deserved national stage not because of how popular they are but due to their 4-1 record that has exceeded all expectations.
These Cowboys Aren’t Just About Style; They Have Substance
Dallas has earned its place as one half of a major Week 6 matchup with the team that is now widely regarded as the best in the NFC. These are the kind of games that Cowboys fans live for, to have first place on the line against a hated opponent.
It’s an experience that the aficionados of the team haven’t enjoyed enough of in recent years. Just to be included in the NFC’s game of the week is a privilege that the team’s followers wanted to embrace more frequently.
The Cowboys have the third-best defense in the league in terms of points per game allowed (14.4,) and they are second in the league with 20 sacks. Dallas is second in the NFL in turnover differential (+5), only behind the Eagles (+9).
The Cowboys only turned the ball over two times, tied with Philadelphia for the fewest number of giveaways in the league.
Cooper Rush has proven that the move to a backup quarterback doesn’t always mean the season is over. That was the assumption when Dak Prescott went down, but the offense under Rush has not hurt the team enough to deter it from pushing for the top spot in the division.
The offense has not looked good the past two games, but it has not been detrimental to the point where it has been preventing wins, either.
Prescott should be returning at some point soon, and the Cowboys could have their best chance to make a run past the Wild Card round in the playoffs, which has become a far-fetched goal in this century. The team may be ready to offer their fans the most hope since the 2014 season, which ended in unforgettable pain at Green Bay.
Realistically, Dallas has garnered a ton of deserved respect for building a 4-1 record without Prescott, and the defense rivals the 49ers’ and Eagles’ units as the best in the NFC. But realistically, the Cowboys will be at an offensive disadvantage this week, and having secured a place on the marquee with Philadelphia is great, but the glow of the spotlight may quickly dim once the actual game starts.
The First NFC East Fight Won’t Be The Decisive Bout
The Eagles are obviously very close to Dallas in terms of defensive quality, but their blend of offense and defense could be the best in the league outside of Buffalo right now.
The conservative yet frequently punchless offense of Dallas won’t be able to answer back to Philadelphia when it ultimately delivers the most important scores of the night.
But the Cowboys will hang in there and likely won’t get blown out, and they should stick close enough for a while, providing hope for later in the season. These teams will meet again on Christmas Eve, and by then, Prescott will be back and guiding a more complete Cowboys team.
Once the starting QB returns, the Cowboys will be on nearly equal footing with the Eagles on both sides of the bal and can possibly make a big move to wrap up the division in front of the home fans.
The Giants have been the biggest surprise in the division, and maybe they can vie for a Wild Card berth, but the NFC East title battle should ultimately come down to who prevails between the Cowboys and Eagles. Dallas’ offense is going to improve soon, and New York’s will not get much better.
Cowboys fans should be happy that their team has vaulted back into a position where they have a rightful place on the same bill as the Eagles. Later in the season, when Prescott is back, Dallas will be able to possibly knock Philadelphia off when it counts the most.
Even if the Cowboys lose this week, they have shoved their way into the conversation with the NFC heavyweights over the longer term.
Philadelphia may be the home of Rocky Balboa, but Dallas is the underdog who just needs to show they can go the distance in this scenario.
Then they can come back and win the rematch, much like Rocky did.
The Cowboys are back in the ring with the NFC’s best teams, and they certainly have a puncher’s chance to make their longtime loyal fans see them survive without an early postseason knockout this time.
Featured Image: USA Today