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Eatman: Being Better Team Needs To Start In Arlington

There's an old adage or a simple formula that has been created as to what a good football team should be during the regular season.

Win your home games, split on the road and you're in good shape. Obviously in the NFL, that'd be a 12-4 record and in this league of constant parity, that'd be much better than "good shape."

But it sounds simple enough. Just protect your home turf and then be average when you're going into other team's hostile territory.

So far, I guess you could say the Cowboys are on that path. They've split their first two road games, with two home games to play – stating Sunday against Tampa Bay, followed by a Monday night game against Chicago on Oct. 1.

But while the road games are a different animal all together, the home games have been anything but cakewalks for this Cowboys team, especially since they moved into Cowboys Stadium in 2009.

In 24 games played in what is widely considered the top sporting venue in all of sports, the Cowboys hold just a pedestrian 13-11 record, and it's just 7-9 in the past two seasons. That inaugural year of the stadium, the Cowboys went 6-2 at home and even won their first playoff game in 16 years as well.

But lately, it's been anything but a picnic. There are different reasons for that. It's still considered a palace for opposing teams who likely bring incredible energy that is tough for a team that practices often in the same stadium to match.

You can say the Cowboys' fans just aren't as loud as other places, and that's pretty much been the case dating back to Texas Stadium.

Or you can factor in the fact the Cowboys as an entire team, just haven't been that great. So if it's at home, road or even a neutral site, the results have been about the same.

All of those factors seem to be somewhat accurate.

But the fact remains, the Cowboys need to start protecting their home turf. There are road games looming in Baltimore, Carolina, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Washington. Three of those teams made the playoffs last year. The other three have Cam Newton, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III to deal with and could be eyeing a playoff spot this year.

So staying on this .500 level on the road would be quite a feat.

But taking care of business at home is where the focus needs to be. And it starts Sunday against a Tampa Bay team that has beaten the Cowboys in Dallas just once, and not since 2001.

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