Game Of Perception

How different do we look at this team? This quarterback? This head coach? This entire season?

You probably just read that last line and answered with "not at all." That's normal. It's natural to try and diffuse another opinion. But seriously, think about it.

Think about the scenario that must play out Saturday night. And if the Cowboys go down to New Orleans and knock off the Saints, giving that team with a Wonder-Boy head coach and Superman at quarterback its first loss of the year, I think we automatically have a different opinion of the Cowboys.

You can disagree all you want, and probably will, but if the Cowboys go down and beat the Saints, you can't say this team can't win a big game.

You can't say the quarterback can't win on the road, or win in December, or win a big game either.

You can't say this team is finished. You can't say they don't have any heart, or any fight.

You can't say Wade Phillips can't get his team ready to play (although they'll come up with someone else).

I understand this isn't a playoff game. And win or lose, those postseason demons will still be there for Romo, Phillips and this entire team. Plus, a win Saturday will immediately increase expectations again to the point that any loss after this will be considered in the "choke" category.

But they can't worry about that - only this game and this opportunity in front of them.

If this sounds like over-the-top optimism, then let's squash that right here. I'm not exactly saying the Cowboys will win this game on Saturday. Two weeks ago, I did go on record and say the Saints wouldn't be 14-0. (Was kind of hoping Washington or Atlanta would take me off the hook, but that didn't happen - thanks). So I guess I'm stuck with this prediction, but I'm not actually seeing it right now.

Do I think the Cowboys can win? Of course. And we're not talking about needing miracles or early Christmas presents. A few stocking-stuffing interceptions would be nice, but the Cowboys just have to play sound football, score touchdowns when they get into the red zone and get their defense off the field. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, it means playing different than they have here in recent weeks.

But the opportunity to win is certainly there. And if you do that, it'll be amazing how the perception of this football team will change.

And that doesn't happen every week. Had the Cowboys beaten the Chargers, not much would've been different. If they lose Saturday, but win the next two, including the season-finale against the Eagles, you can't rid themselves from most of those perceptions.

But go down there and beat the big-bad Saints in their rockin' house, with all the pressure facing the Cowboys here in December - do that and it will go a long, long way in swaying the opinion of this team.

And maybe, will get these Cowboys back in good graces with their fans once again. At least for a little while.

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