Dallas Cowboys Playoff Bound in 2014?
After 7 weeks of the 2014 NFL Season, the Dallas Cowboys have the best record in the NFL. If you had made that statement to any football fan after week 1, they probably would have laughed, and for good reason. The Cowboys defense a year ago was painfully bad. The loss of DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher to free agency, and Sean Lee to injury, left Dallas fans feeling less than hopeful for improvement on defense coming into 2014. The offense was going to have to carry the Cowboys playoff hopes in 2014, but a 4 turnover drubbing to the San Francisco 49ers in week 1 made all of those hopes seem misguided.
But then the Cowboys started to do something that they have not done in quite some time. They started to dominate the line of scrimmage. The difference a year and the edition of Zach Martin have made on the Cowboys offensive line is remarkable. Through the first 7 games of the season in 2014, the Cowboys have already rushed for 1,118 yards, which is only about 400 less yards than Dallas rushed for all season in 2013. Here is a quick comparison of the rushing numbers between the first 7 games in 2013 vs. the first 7 games in 2014.
This dominating play up front hasn’t just been helpful for the running game. Tony Romo recovered from his 3 interception performance in week 1 to throw 13 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions in the past 6 games. Romo’s play for Dallas has been especially good in the game’s final moments as he sports the best 2nd half quarterback rating in the NFL .
The Cowboys defense has also been a revelation in 2014. The addition of Rolando McClain might be the single most influential trade that the Dallas Cowboys have made in half a decade. In the absence of Sean Lee, McClain has already recorded 2 interceptions and 31 tackles for a defensive unit that seems to just find ways to stop opponents. While the Cowboys are still lacking a true pass rush, the secondary and linebacking core for Dallas have greatly exceeded expectations. No one will mistake the Cowboys defense for being an elite unit, but after 7 games they sit right in the middle of the pack for yards and points allowed. Combine that with the Cowboys ability to control the ball with their running game, and Dallas looks like a legitimate contender in the NFC.
While it is way too early to crown the Cowboys as a playoff favorite, a quick look through the remaining Dallas Cowboys schedule should leave Cowboys fans more than hopeful of a playoff berth. At 6-1 the Cowboys will realistically need to win a minimum of 3 more games to earn a playoff spot and probably 5 to guarantee themselves a trip to the playoffs. Of the Cowboys 9 remaining games, 5 of them are to teams with a current record below .500. That should help offset the other 4 games against teams with a combined 4 losses.
Could this be the year the Cowboys finally push through and make some noise in the playoffs?
Remaining 2014 Dallas Cowboys Schedule with median ticket prices:
- October 27th vs. Washington $140
- November 2nd vs. Arizona $131
- November 9th at Jacksonville $95
- November 23rd at New York $216
- November 27th at Philadelphia $185
- December 4th at Chicago $235
- December 14th at Philadelphia $170
- December 21st at Indianapolis $157
- December 28th at Washington $140