FRISCO, Texas –Win two straight keeps your nose in the playoff hunt, no matter how precarious the Cowboys' situation might be, and all seems right out here at The Star.
Zeke is back. Looks good.
Four guys were selected for the 2018 Pro Bowl, as expected their now perennial three offensive linemen (Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin) and the newest addition to the Bowl group, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
Dak Prescott was willing to reveal that his favorite part of Christmas always has been Christmas Eve when his grandmother would make Natchitoches meat pies.
And Dez Bryant says the only present he needs is the Cowboys qualifying for the playoffs, which at this point, with two games remaining and needing to win out, along with Detroit losing one and either Atlanta, New Orleans or Carolina losing two, Santa Claus might be needed for special delivery.
But not for Mick Shots.
- Darn Packers: Still. Of course, even if the Cowboys win their final two games and get to 10-6, first they need Detroit to lose one of their final two games, at Cincinnati or home against Green Bay. If they win both, then you'd have to go to the third tiebreaker to eliminate the Cowboys. See, both would be 10-6, both would have the same 8-4 NFC record and now it comes to record vs. common opponents. Right now, the Cowboys' record is 3-2, having beaten the Giants twice and Arizona, but losing to Atlanta and Green Bay. The Lions have beaten Arizona, the Giants and Green Bay, while losing to Atlanta, so 3-1. But they have one more game to play against Green Bay, right. So the only way for the Lions to get to 10-6 is beat Green Bay, which means they'd be 4-1 against common opponents. Why is it always the Packers? Maybe payback for the 1990s when the Cowboys eliminated the Packers from the playoffs in 1993, 1994 and 1995 in the NFC title game before The Pack won Super Bowl XXXI the next year.
- Punt This: Since the Cowboys are 7-1 with Sean Lee on the field, and 1-5 without him, you can make a case for Lee being the MVP of the league. That's not going to happen, but sure would qualify the Pro Bowl consideration he didn't receive. The only other Cowboys player a case can be made for being ignored is punter Chris Jones. And you have to look past average and net average. Check some of this out. Opponents have returned punts against the Cowboys for a total of 55 yards, and that leads the NFL. Jones' 29 punts downed inside the 20 is second. And the fact opponents have returned only 22 of his punts ranks first. Also, in the past eight games none of his punts has been returned for more than four yards and in seven of those eight games for zero yards or less. Come on now.
- Injury Outlook: At this point, don't feel good about Smith being ready to play on Sunday. And from the sounds of things, neither are Orlando Scandrick, David Irving and Benson Mayowa, none of whom practiced on Wednesday. But think you can count on Lawrence (DNP), La'el Collins (DNP, Brice Butler (limited), who is saying put me in coach, and Anthony Hitchens (DNP), who says he sprained his PCL late against the Raiders but vows to play.
- Playmaker: There are only four players in the NFC with more than Jeff Heath's three interceptions, and three of those have only one more. He also has two forced fumbles.
- Tank It Up: Lastly, "D-Law" has 13.5 sacks, 1.5 behind Arizona's Chandler Jones and one behind the Jags' Calais Campbell. Last Cowboys player to lead the NFL in sacks of course is DeMarcus Ware, 15.5 in 2010.