The Dallas Cowboys head to Kansas City to take on Andy Reid and the Chiefs
By Matthew Postins
Every week I’m responsible for making the NFL picks for my fantasy team in our big-money league instead of my co-owner, fellow RattleandHumSports.com writer Chuck Cox. So when I went into the site on Wednesday to make my picks, I was surprised to find that the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs was a pick ‘em game.
You remember the Chiefs, right? They went 2-14 last year. Yes, they won their opener over Jacksonville in Week 1, 28-2. But the Jaguars are, how should I put this? Bad. Really bad. Potentially unprecedented bad.
So, I thought, “What’s up with that?” And then I remembered:
The only think that’s consistent about the Dallas Cowboys in the Jason Garrett era is that they’re inconsistent.
You might recall last year around this time the Dallas Cowboys were preparing to face the Seattle Seahawks. They were coming off a big win over the New York Giants on the road. There was plenty of optimism being tossed around. The Seahawks were coming off a 7-9 season and starting a rookie quarterback, some guy named Russell Wilson.
Dallas went into Seattle and laid an egg, lost the game and began an inexorable march toward a 3-5 start that basically put the Cowboys behind the eight-ball for the rest of the season.
So we’ve seen this before. During this offseason I’ve written and updated several pieces related to what the Dallas Cowboys have to do this season in order to be a better team. One of those keys was getting off to better starts in games and in the season.
The win over the Giants was a good start. In fact, the Cowboys were in the lead before halftime and never relinquished it. But one win and one held lead is not a trend. And when it comes to stringing wins together the Dallas Cowboys have been eminently untrustworthy in the first half of the season.
In 2011 the Cowboys started 4-4 and in 2012 the Cowboys started 3-5. They strung together two wins in a row just one time during those two half-seasons – back-to-back wins over San Francisco and Washington in 2011 to improve to 2-1. The Cowboys followed that with back-to-back losses to Detroit and New England.
It’s as if these Cowboys can’t stand even a little prosperity. Give them a win and they’ll give it right back the next week, much like that guy in your foursome who stumbles into a birdie, only to follow it with a bogey on the next hole. It’s borderline pathological.
These Dallas Cowboys don’t deserve your trust, not yet. They need to string wins together before you should head to Vegas and start placing bets, much less doubling down.
But, yet, they suck you in this weekend because, theoretically, they should win. It’s the Chiefs after all, the 2-14 team from a year ago. Why wouldn’t they win?
Yeah, that’s a problem. Reid was 17-12 against the Cowboys during his career in Philadelphia. No coach in league history has more wins against the Cowboys than Reid. He always seemed to have the Cowboys’ number on gameday, at least when it really mattered. Reid is a master game-planner offensively who loves mismatches and pitting speed against scheme.
I would trust Reid to squeeze great performances out of not-so-great players long before I trusted Garrett to do the same thing. That’s why the Chiefs will be in most games this year as Reid tries to rebuild their talent base. It’s also why the Chiefs will be downright pesky this weekend.
So who wins? It really is a pick ‘em. But it really is important that the Dallas Cowboys win this Sunday.
Consider the 12 teams that reached the playoffs last season. Nine of them had at least five wins at the season’s mid-point. One, Seattle, was 4-4. Two, Cincinnati and Washington, were 3-5. To reach the playoffs Cincinnati and Washington each had to finish the season 7-1. Cincinnati and Washington were just the eighth and ninth teams since 1991 to reach the postseason after a 3-5 start, according to USA Today.
A good start is paramount to the Cowboys bouncing back from three non-playoff seasons and playing meaningful football in January.
Do you trust the Dallas Cowboys to make it a 2-0 start? Do you?
That’s what I thought. We’ll see if they start earning your trust again on Sunday.