How many remaining games will Cowboys win?
It'll take an upset to find win column
Which game are you picking the Dallas Cowboys to win the rest of the season?
Maybe the Cowboys can pull off an upset, but they aren't better than any of the teams remaining on the schedule. It's difficult to envision them bucking their trend of December fades.
That might have been true no matter what. It's definitely true now that Sean Lee and Bruce Carter are out for the season, and Rob Ryan is scouring construction sites looking for candidates to plug in at inside linebacker.
Let's take a quick look at the Cowboys' foes the rest of the season and try to figure out how they can get a win, much less the three or four they need to get into the playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals: The 7-5 Bengals have won four in a row to put themselves firmly in the AFC playoff race. A.J. Green (76 catches, 1,107 yards, 10 touchdowns) is one of the NFL's top receivers, but he might not even be the biggest threat to the Dallas defense. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the first Bengals running back since 1999 to have three consecutive 100-yard games, and it's a really good bet he'll extend that streak Sunday. That's especially true if the Bengals have a late lead, which is likely considering how well former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's unit has been playing, allowing 10.5 points per game during the winning streak.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers just snapped Baltimore's 15-game home winning streak with Charlie Batch playing quarterback. Think they'll be intimidated by the Cowboys Stadium crowd with Ben Roethlisberger back? This game probably will feel like a bowl game with about 30,000 Terrible Towels waving, and a whole bunch of black and gold in the stands.
New Orleans Saints: This is the Cowboys' best chance for a win down the stretch, especially if the Saints lose to the Giants or Buccaneers in the next two weeks to kill their slim playoff hopes. Tony Romo & Co. should put up pretty numbers against a Saints squad that ranks last in the league in total defense by a long shot. Can the Cowboys stop Drew Brees? This game might be meaningless as far as the playoff picture is concerned, but it ought to at least be entertaining.
Washington Redskins: Get ready for another Robert Griffin III highlight reel. But say the Cowboys surprise us all and the Redskins keep rolling. The football gods could give us another winner-gets-in regular-season finale. Oh, the Cowboys have fared so well in that sort of spotlight in recent years.
Cowboys too good to go winless
The Cowboys have four regular-season games remaining, and to say they won't win the rest of their games is unfair. You would sound like a crazy person.
With a playoff berth on the line, one thing you can't say about Jason Garrett's team is that it will quit. This team won't. The four games are winnable, starting with Sunday afternoon's date in Cincinnati. Let's be honest: It's not like the Bengals play in an imposing environment.
I'm not sure whether the Cowboys will win there because I believe the Bengals are just a better team. But I also don't believe the Pittsburgh Steelers have the necessary defensive weapons to slow down Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray on Dec. 16. Of course the Steelers might have their elite quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, back for that game.
And beating the New Orleans Saints, a team with nothing on the line, is quite possible Dec. 23.
The regular-season finale could determine everyone's fate at Valley Ranch, as the Cowboys take on the Washington Redskins on Dec. 30. Given more film study, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have a better game plan for Robert Griffin III in the rematch. The Redskins' defense plays well at times but is inconsistent, and I'm not sure it can handle the Cowboys' offense with a healthy Murray.
The Cowboys are not good enough to make the playoffs. But that's not what we're talking about here. If they go 2-2, it still hurts their playoff chances. That's what's going to happen.
If the Cowboys go 0-4 -- they're too good of a team for that to happen -- expect some major changes to happen.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Jerry Jones looks forward to the rest of the season and talks about the Cowboys' chances at making the playoffs.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett talks about the Cowboys' balanced attack and the return of DeMarco Murray in their win over the Eagles.
Matt Mosley joins Ben and Skin for his weekly segment to discuss the state of the Dallas Cowboys and his attempt to look like an assistant coach at Baylor.