For the third year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys will be home for the playoffs following a week 17 loss to a divisional rival in a de-facto division championship game. This time, we can’t blame Tony Romo, or any of the Cowboys’ quarterbacks for that matter. Kyle Orton gave Dallas a chance, but in the end, their effort was too little.
This time around, the Cowboys played a good game, losing by just two points to a very solid team. Last year, the Redskins topped Dallas by 10 points, and two seasons ago, the Cowboys were dismantled by 17 points by the New York Giants. Still, the margin of loss won’t be a consolation prize for Dallas.
There was little question heading into Sunday night’s game that the Eagles were the better overall football team than the Cowboys, especially with Tony Romo sidelined for the rest of the season, but that’s why they play the game. The Cowboys came together as a team, and they were able to hold LeSean McCoy and the Eagles’ high-octane offense in check.
Nick Foles, the Eagles young star quarterback, has become synonymous with efficient play at the quarterback position, and he delivered another clutch performance to help his team into the postseason. Foles was solid, completing 17 of his 26 passes with two touchdowns, and most importantly, no interceptions. He did lose a fumble, but the Eagles’ defense bailed him out by holding the Cowboys to just a field goal on the ensuing series which started deep in Philadelphia’s territory.
For the Cowboys, the season is over. Dallas once again missed a winning record, finishing 8-8 for a third straight season, but the consensus seems to be that the Cowboys will bring back Jason Garrett as their head coach. Even without Tony Romo, Garrett had his team ready to play. Unlike seasons in the past, there was never a sense the Cowboys were unprepared.
Defensively, the Cowboys may move in a different direction. Monte Kiffin was unable to shape the Cowboys’ defense into a top-tier unit. If the Cowboys decide to shake up their defensive coaching staff, we could see Dallas shake up its staff without losing their head coach, which would indicate that Jerry Jones does in fact want to keep Jason Garrett as long as possible.
The Eagles will host the New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round of the playoffs following their division-clenching win. The Saints are just 3-5 on the road this season, and if conditions are less than ideal, there’s no doubt the Eagles would benefit by featuring a strong running game.