IRVING, Texas - So we're back where we started from. The Cowboys are .500, now with just eight games to play.
While there are a few teams, including the NFC East first-place Giants, ahead of the Cowboys in the standings, they're not in bad shape sitting at 4-4 along with four other teams in the NFC.
Clearly, what happens down the stretch will ultimately decide who gets into the playoffs. Would 5-3 or 6-2 make your stomach a little less queasy? Definitely, but at least the Cowboys still have time to make something happen.
The problem is, to get to 10 wins like head coach Bill Parcells suggested this week, that would mean your Cowboys would have to go 6-2 here in the second half of the season. That's some pretty good consistency from a team that has been inconsistent for the past three seasons.
But who knows? A few less penalties, dropped passes and better protection on field-goal attempts, and the team could easily be 6-2 already. Getting to 10-6 certainly isn't out of the question, but there is some heavy work to do.
Before the Cowboys head off to Arizona for Sunday's 3:15 p.m. (CST) kickoff against the Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium (still doesn't sound right), let's take a peak back at the first half of the season. Let's look at some highs and lows, the good and the bad, and of course, the real ugly.
This might go against the "don't-look-back" approach, but so what? Mid-season reports are always fun, and this one is sure to stir up a few e-mails in the inbox.
Best Win: Carolina - An easy answer, considering the Panthers are the only team the Cowboys have beaten this year that doesn't have a losing record. Carolina is 4-4, just like Dallas, but with Tony Romo making his first start on Sunday Night Football, and the Cowboys falling behind 14-0, it will go down as one of the more memorable games of the season. Romo played great in the second half and the Cowboys got a franchise-record 25 points in the fourth quarter to turn a highly-competitive game into a rout. But with every good, there's a bad . . .
* >Worst Loss : Washington - . . . And the bad took place up there in D.C. the very next weekend, with the Cowboys losing a fourth-quarter lead and then squandering a chance to win the game on a last-second field goal. We've all seen the tapes by now. A seemingly easy field goal try was blocked, setting up Washington's Nick Novak 47-yarder to win the game on an untimed play. It's more than just one loss. Getting to 5-3 at the midway point and getting Romo off to a 2-0 start would've been huge. Instead, they're no better than average and now must beat teams such as Indianapolis or at the Giants, or both, to have any kind of chance. *
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