The Cowboys are sitting at 3-5 right now, but with the Eagles twice, Browns, Redskins, and Bengals coming up, do you think the Cowboys could get to 8-5 and salvage the season?
Jonny: I certainly think it's possible, but I wouldn't count on it. You can't call any of those games wins just yet. Not even the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys have had a terrible running game all season and their late game decision making has been questionable. These are things that rarely fix themselves and they can cost you a game against any team in the NFL. Maybe if things really get going the Cowboys could be 7-6, but 8-5 is hard for me to believe.
Rowan: I see 7-6 as a realistic possibility. Reeling off five wins in a row is a tall task for a team that's had trouble closing out any opponent this season. That's not to say all of these games aren't winnable, but nothing I've seen thus far makes me think the Cowboys will go on that kind of a streak. While none of those teams hold winning records, all of them are capable of wins.
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It feels like it has been a decade since I had any confidence in the Cowboys gaining a first down on 3rd and 1 by rushing. Is the problem technique, size, strength, talent...what?
Jonny: I think the problem is talent, along with possibly confidence. When I say talent I mean at the offensive line. I don't want to say that they are an untalented group of guys, but the rushing numbers have been staggeringly low and backs have been hit almost immediately upon receiving the ball. That realization may also affect the running backs on third-and-1 situations. When they only need a yard they may instinctively brace themselves for a quick hit and try to go to the outside rather burst for a short gain.
Rowan: It's on the offensive line and a running back group without its toughest runner in DeMarco Murray. There's a reason a team passes three straight times after a second-and-1, and it's not to do with a stout rushing attack. What seems to be the problem is the offensive line doesn't generate much push from the line of scrimmage or create many holes. That can be attributed to strength or talent. The difficult part to diagnose is it's not the same guy making the mistake every week.