Ellis: Couldn't Ask For More Before Season

IRVING, Texas -I've argued this point in a couple venues now, on Twitter and The Lunch Break radio show, with pretty mixed reactions, but it's something I definitely believe.

Going into this season, if someone told Cowboys fans the team would be in this very scenario in Week 17, every one of them should've gladly taken it. A win, and you're in, with the 22nd division title in franchise history to boot.

Remember where this team is coming from. They were 6-10 last year, and 1-7 before that, maybe the absolute rock bottom point in club history. Not even competitive. Aside for a couple games against the Eagles, the Cowboys have been competitive in *every *game since. In most of the ones they've lost, they've even held a lead in the fourth quarter.

That's what the greedy fans will point to in saying this club really hasn't lived up to expectations this year. It was definitely a bummer for the team to have lost games they appeared to be in control of against the Jets and Lions, and the Giants just a couple weeks ago. Just know that those things even out, and the Cowboys came from behind to beat San Francisco, Washington (twice) and the Dolphins.

The fact is, most everyone predicted this to be an average team going into the season. They were rebuilding the offensive line, added essentially no game-changers on defense and had question marks at running back, wide receiver and kicker. Tony Romo was coming off a serious injury.

So, to have eight wins now, with a chance for a ninth on Sunday, is really not a surprise to me. What is shocking is the fact that the ninth win would win the NFC East, no questions asked. That doesn't usually happen.

Believe it or not, this decidedly average team could host a playoff game if they rise to the occasion at the Meadowlands. They have a shot to play themselves into the tournament, and then roll the dice. The "Dream Team" Philadelphia Eagles and the equally up-and-down New York Giants have gift-wrapped a perfect opportunity for the Cowboys to actually exceed most expectations for 2011.

On this day after Christmas, that's a present no Cowboys fan should want to return.

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