FRISCO, Texas – Back to work Wednesday.
Yep, back to work for the Dallas Cowboys. No time to feel sorry for themselves after losing back-to-back games for the first time since doing so twice last year, the three-game losing streak to start the second half of the season and the back-to-back losses earlier in 2017 to the Rams and Packers by a grand total of nine points when scoring at least 30 in each game. Meaning, this has occurred only three times in the past 40 games, and this also is the first time in those 40 games the Cowboys have fallen two games below .500.
Also, back to work for Dez Bryant, signing a one year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Throw an X up for him.
And back to work for the Philadelphia Eagles, beginning preparations in earnest for Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys after enjoying their bye this past week.
Same for Golden Tate, traded to the Eagles last week, sort of what the Cowboys went through getting their traded-for wide receiver Amari Cooper up to speed for the Tennessee game.
So, should be loaded with shots today.
· Pick This: This occurred to me while working on a Dallas Cowboys Legends Show last night featuring former Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls, remember the guy who set the club’s single-season interception record as a rookie with 11, a number no one in the NFL has equaled since. During the 1982 strike season, limiting teams to just nine games, Walls led the league with seven interceptions. So far this year after eight games, the Cowboys, as a team, have two. Just pointing it out.
· He Said It: You know last week, when some were saying the Tennessee game was a must win, my response was it’s a “gotta,” win, saving the must for catastrophic times. Well, the Cowboys are 3-5, two games behind the NFC East first-place Redskins (5-3) and now must play a night game in Philadelphia. So if last week’s game was a must win, or a gotta win in my books, what’s Sunday night’s game? “One hundred percent, it’s a must win,” says Ezekiel Elliott. “One, it’s a division game, makes it that much more important. It’s a must win.” OK, I’ll defer to the NFC’s second-leading rusher (680 yards). Cuz 3-6 could bury you. Almost.
· 88 Lives: My guess is ticket sales for the Cowboys’ Nov. 29 Thursday night game against the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium just sky-rocketed with the Saints signing the Cowboys career-leader in touchdown receptions (73) on Wednesday. Must-see game, right? But no one around here was going, “Oh no,” realizing they will have to face an emotionally-charged Dez returning to AT&T Stadium for the first time since his April release. And if you’re wondering what Saints head coach Sean Payton is thinking, since the Saints are 7-1 and riding a seven-game winning streak with the NFL’s seventh-ranked offense, check this out: Wide receiver Michael Thomas leads the team with 70 catches for 880 yards. Heck, all the Cowboys wide receivers in eight games have 91 catches for 1,060 yards. But after Thomas, with Ted Ginn Jr. on IR, the next two Saints receivers with the most catches are Tre’Quan Smith, 12 for 135, and Cam Meredith with nine catches for 114 yards. Need someone else to throw up some X’s. “I think it’s taken him this long on his end,” Zeke says, “not because teams didn’t want him. I think he was waiting for the right team that was a fit for him.”
· Oh, That Line II: The Cowboys had enough problems on that offensive line with Travis Frederick missing. Now they will be without starting left guard Connor Williams for a few weeks, the rookie having his knee scoped Wednesday. With only 10 percent of the decision in, the early returns are projecting Adam Redmond taking his place. All precincts won’t be in until Friday.
· Looking Familiar: So I get it, the Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champs. But they are 4-4, one whole game better than the Cowboys, no matter what stats you want to compare. But how about this? The Eagles lost to Tennessee. So did the Cowboys. The Eagles beat the Giants. So did the Cowboys. The Eagles lost to Carolina. So did the Cowboys. The Eagles beat Jacksonville. So did the Cowboys. The Eagles have yet to play the Redskins, who already have beaten the Cowboys, and beat Atlanta, which the Cowboys play next week. The Eagles also beat the Buccaneers, who the Cowboys play in Game 15. And when it comes to their uncommon opponents, the Eagles have lost to Minnesota and beat Indianapolis. The Cowboys, they beat Detroit, and lost to Seattle and Houston.
· Slap Shots: When it comes to protecting quarterbacks neither the Cowboys nor the Eagles are excelling, since Dak Prescott has been sacked 25 times in eight games, a 50-sack pace over 16, and Eagles quarterbacks have been sacked 26 times, with Carson Wentz going down 21 times in his six games … The question is, are the Eagles so good against the run (2nd) that teams have to resort to passing (25th) against them? Or are the Eagles so porous against the pass that teams don’t even bother running against them? Opponents are averaging 4.5 yards a carry against the Eagles defense, but have only bothered to run the ball 150 times, by far the fewest in the league. Defenses are facing a league average of 214.1 rushes after Week 9 … Remember last year when the Cowboys were poised to knock out the L.A. Rams early in that game at AT&T, but threw them a life preserver with a fumbled punt causing me to say this loss will come back to haunt them, and it did. Well, circle this Tennessee loss, because the Cowboys were poised to blow the Titans out 17-0 in the first quarter, but the missed field goal and interception from Tennessee’s 6-yard line resuscitated the Titans enough to beat the Cowboys. Circle it.
And mercifully, here’s to the completion of mid-term elections, getting those political ads off my TV. Good gosh.