YES, IT'S TIME TO PANICBy Todd Archer
Who would've thought Calvin would be the pragmatic one in this question?
I understand Jason Garrett's "have a great day today" theory, but there is a time and place for everything. Even with a two-game losing streak, the Dallas Cowboys control their ability to make the playoffs by winning their final three games.
But this is not the time to calmly and coolly dissect what has happened in the last two games. This is the time to pump up the sense of urgency. As Jason Witten said in the locker room last week, it's December ball. December ball is more important than September, October and November ball. It's not quite as important as January ball, but you don't get to that level without doing well in December ball.
Garrett wants to project a positive demeanor even when chaos is erupting. He does not need to become a rant-and-rave machine, but he needs to alter the message.
The Cowboys have allowed a 100-yard receiver in four straight games. Is there any doubt the Bucs' Mike Williams makes it five in a row Saturday?
The field goal operation has faltered twice. Are you as confident in Dan Bailey as you were just three weeks ago?
A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking the Cowboys might be able to make a postseason run depending on their seeding. It wasn't that the Cowboys lost to the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants, it was the way they lost.
Those games tend to linger, which is why it's time to panic.
You've heard our takes; now give us yours. DISCUSS
NOT TIME TO PANIC YETBy Calvin Watkins
The Dallas Cowboys shouldn't panic.
They have no reason to because despite being tied for first place in the NFC East with the New York Giants, if the Cowboys win two of the next three, and if one of those wins is against the Giants, you can print the playoff tickets.
The next three games are winnable for Jason Garrett's team.
Tampa Bay, Saturday's opponent, has basically checked out from the 2011 season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, the Christmas Eve opponent, beat the Cowboys badly Oct. 30, 34-7, but who knows what the mentality will be for Andy Reid's team in the rematch.
On New Year's Day, the Giants host the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium and this might be for the NFC East title. The Giants have shown they are an inconsistent bunch as evidenced by their 6-2 start and then four-game losing streak that just ended with a win over the Cowboys.
Garrett's faith in his message to his team hasn't subsided once. If the Cowboys lose, the players are talking like Garrett. They talk about taking things one game at a time, one practice at a time. Tough losses are forgotten about within 24 hours. Mentally, the Cowboys can bounce back from tough losses and have shown an ability to do so. Remember the win in San Francisco after that Week 1 defeat to the Jets?
The Cowboys haven't quit on their season and won't start now.
Another positive for the Cowboys is their offense.
Garrett's team is averaging 390.1 yards per game and quarterback Tony Romo is playing so well. He's thrown seven touchdowns and two interceptions the last three weeks. What's important during this stretch for Romo is his ability to dodge defenders when pressured, and he's protecting the ball when he throws passes downfield.
There are questionable things with the defense, especially late in games, but if the Cowboys are in a shootout with any team on their schedule, you might take Romo over Josh Freeman and Michael Vick at this stage of the season.
Yes, Eli Manning beat Romo Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium, but remember, Romo had a 12-point fourth-quarter lead and if he had hit Miles Austin on that long pass that the receiver lost in the lights, the Cowboys would have won.
Many ifs, but the Cowboys have the confidence in the next three weeks to reach the playoffs.