Importance Of 5-3

Because if the Cowboys do win Sunday, that will ensure them going into next week's bye with having at least as many wins as two of the other three teams in the NFC East currently standing at 4-2. And, coming off the bye, there is the possibility only one of the other NFC East teams will have more wins than the Cowboys - the Giants and Redskins play this week, followed the next week by the Eagles and Redskins.

Hey, who knows, since the Eagles have to play the Broncos in Denver this Sunday, there is a chance the Cowboys could emerge from the bye week in a four-team tie at 5-3 in the NFC East - if they beat the Cardinals.

And let's not concern ourselves - just yet - with returning from the bye to play Philly out there on Monday night, followed by Detroit on a short week and then Denver on even a shorter week (Thanksgiving). Just remember the significance of getting to 5-3.

In the history of the Dallas Cowboys, 29 times they began a season with at least a 5-3 record, which includes 21 consecutive seasons (1966-1986). And guess what? Of those 29 times, 28 resulted in a winning record.

The Lone Ranger there? Well, it was that 1986 season, one Bill Parcells had a pretty big hand in shaping, to think of it. The Cowboys finished the first half 6-2, but in the first game of the second half, the Parcells' blitzing Giants fractured the wrist of quarterback Danny White, and the Cowboys limped home with a 1-7 record in the second half for a 7-9 mark to interrupt their streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons (1966-1985).

So not only is beating the Cardinals significant for logical reasons, but obviously history tells us finishing the first half with a winning record is mighty meaningful.

No less than twice on Monday Parcells mentioned how "important" Sunday's game against Arizona was to the Cowboys. And then on Tuesday, Jerry Jones said the same thing.

Then on Wednesday Parcells said again, "It's a very, very important time for us right now. I mentioned it after the game, and I mentioned it Monday in a squad meeting and I reiterated it again (Wednesday). I'm trying to get everybody in the right frame of mind to respond . . .

"We need to get out of this first half on the plus side."

A tall order for the young stick the Cowboys are playing with.


Continue to like Torrin Tucker's perspective on things. Last week, he just didn't want to let his teammates down when taking over the starting left tackle job. And he didn't. This week, in Week 2 of Tucker At Left Tackle, he was asked about the importance of the Cardinals game, and he said, "Every game you play is important, because you never know, it might be your last game." Now you're talking, Torrin.
The Cowboys' offensive line better properly warm up their motors before Sunday's game. Because if you remember, they were not ready for the speed of the Cardinals defense in that preseason game. Looked slow and sluggish. Consider this a fair warning.
One other thing on 5-3, if the Cowboys can get there: Only one team then at the halfway point in the NFC can possibly have more wins than the Cowboys, and probably will since the 5-1 Bucs of Tampa Bay are at 1-5 San Francisco. (Seattle at 5-2 has a bye this Sunday.)
And the score . . . well, life is grand after witnessing the White Sox World Series-clinching victory Wednesday night at Houston's Bee Hive, and will be next week for the idle Cowboys after they dispatch the Cardinals, 20-10.

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