Thanksgiving Day, 2012 for all intents and purposes killed any hope of postseason play for the Dallas Cowboys. The normally stout defense that was responsible for a lot of the success that Dallas had experienced fell completely off the wagon in one second quarter for the ages. Now the Cowboys find themselves in a time warp of sorts as the Eagles come to town. Twenty-one days ago, the Cowboys had a must-win situation versus the Eagles and Sunday’s game is no different. There is no more room for losses.
This week’s Four Quarters will focus more on the reasons why the Cowboys are in this position instead of what they need to do to survive and advance. Here they are… the Four Quarters.
The Cowboys are second to last in the league in the number of penalties they have had with over eight per game. The bottom five teams in this statistic are a combined 26-28-1 with Baltimore being the only team that is currently holding down a playoff spot. Dallas has not only been penalized a significant amount of times but also penalized at very inopportune times usually in the red zone. Making things harder on themselves has been one of the best attributes that the Cowboys have displayed this year.
– Horrible starts
This is obviously not a tracked statistic but realize this has been the most consistent problem that has quelled the Dallas Cowboys 2012 season. Of a possible 720 minutes played, plus the 8:47 of overtime from the Cleveland game, Dallas has only led for 173 minutes and 10 seconds. They have never led a game from start to finish but have had two games where they have never led at all. The Cowboys have not scored more than ten points before halftime all year and have a total of 73 points in twelve games going to half meaning that Dallas averages one touchdown scored going into the half in 2012.
– Red zone touchdown percentage
Dallas is 26th in the league in touchdowns scored in the red zone. Field goals or no score at all instead of a touchdown that close in is an absolute killer. The bottom nine teams in this statistic are all likely to miss the playoffs, combining for a 31-67-1 record. The fact that Dan Bailey has the same number of extra points made as field goals made (22) belabors this point given that eight of the ten kickers who lead the league in extra points are on playoff bound teams and the other two (New Orleans and Cincinnati) are in the hunt.
The Cowboys are in the bottom five of the league in turnover differential with eleven more turnovers than takeaways. The eight worst teams in this category are a combined 34-54, with only two playoff teams in the mix. Tony Romo is tied for the league lead in interceptions thrown, while the extremely high priced secondary acquistions of Brandon Carr (free agency) and Morris Claiborne (top six draft pick) have combined for two of the Cowboys five total interceptions. Safe to say that this is not the performances that were expected when the year started.
Now for the picks. Last week was not exactly what you would call an inspiring effort. After getting back over the .500 mark once the Thanksgiving day games were over, I went right back under Sunday and Monday. Time is running out on my season as well.
LAST WEEK: 6-10 (.375)
SEASON TOTAL: 85-90 (.486)
THIS WEEK: 1-0 (1,000)
Seattle at CHICAGO -3
+8 MINNESOTA at Green Bay
San Francisco at ST. LOUIS +7.5
+6 ARIZONA at N.Y. Jets
-3 CAROLINA at Kansas City
+6 INDIANAPOLIS at Detroit
Jacksonville at BUFFALO -6
-7.5 NEW ENGLAND at Miami
-6.5 HOUSTON at Tennessee
+7.5 TAMPA BAY at Denver
+7.5 PITTSBURGH at Baltimore
Cleveland at OAKLAND +2.5
-1.5 CINCINNATI at San Diego
+10 PHILADELPHIA at Dallas
N.Y. Giants at WASHINGTON +3