Cowboys' playoff level questioned after loss to Cardinals

Cowboys have struggled against winning teams, the kind of rivals they will soon face.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Less than 30 minutes before kickoff, things were looking great for the Dallas Cowboys.

The New York Jets, who had four wins, came within two yards of defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and paving the way for the Cowboys to reach second place in the playoffs of the NFC.

Then came Tom Brady (or maybe it was the Jets) and Tampa bay won. Three hours and six minutes later, the Cowboys they were the No. 4 seed after a 25-22 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

However, the response of the Cowboys after the defeat he focused more on the perception of bad refereeing than on a missed opportunity.

“That’s the kind of team we’ll play against in the playoffs,” emphasized the owner and general manager Jerry jones about Arizona.

Jones is right, but Can the Cowboys beat that kind of team?

The Cowboys They have played seven games this season against teams that currently have a winning record. They are 3-4 against those rivals. The last team they beat and currently has a New England Patriots winning record, which fell to 2-4 after their overtime loss to Dallas October 17.

The last team that Cowboys they won with a winning record the time they played against them was Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers, who are now 5-11.

“I didn’t see anything in the way that individual play or team play shook his confidence,” Jones said. “I saw what can happen to you when you play a playoff team and they are making some good things happen.”

Quarterback Dak Prescott said: “I’m not discouraged. Definitely disappointed not to win. But not discouraged. Be the team we have, what we have. We just didn’t do it as a team. Starting with me. We have to be better. All of us. We have to look in the mirror. And find a way to get away with a win in a game like that. “

The question is worth repeating: Can the Cowboys win a game like this?

They lost the last three to play against teams with a winning record: at the Kansas City Chiefs and at home against the Las Vegas Raiders and Cardinals. Next week, they play the Philadelphia Eagles 9-7 in the Lincoln Financial Field.

The Cowboys They came Sunday on a four-game win streak, but those four wins were against teams with a combined 18-30 record: the New Orleans Saints, the Washington Football Team (twice) and the New York Giants.

Now the only way Cowboys advance from the No. 4 seed is by beating the Eagles and hoping the Buccaneers lose to the Panthers (doubtful) and the Los Angeles Rams fall to the San Francisco 49ers (not so doubtful) or that the Cardinals lose to the Seattle Seahawks (let’s say unlikely).

A tie between the three would give Cowboys second place based on his best record in the conference.

Everything would be easier if the Cowboys had won on Sunday.

But the offense was spotty at best, converting just 3 of 11 third-down chances, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry (though hurt by some holdings) and a very imprecise Prescott, at least until the third quarter. The defense couldn’t stop for much of the game (the Cardinals were 9-for-18 at third and fourth down) and couldn’t get a response when it needed it. Jayron Kearse’s failed interception in the end zone in the third quarter should have been a sign that it wasn’t Cowboys day.

Special teams contributed a failed 43-yard field goal attempt by Greg Zuerlein and allowed a 23-yard pass to be completed on a false punt as part of a 91-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter.

“We weren’t good enough today,” agreed the coach. Mike mccarthy, who burned a timeout after Arizona caused the Cowboys to think they were going for a fourth-five from Dallas eight in the third quarter. “We weren’t good enough today and that’s why the result is what it is.”

If the Cowboys had a timeout, they would have challenged a potential fumble before the two-minute warning, when they trailed by three points. Instead, they had to watch the Cardinals burn the final 4:42 minutes of the game for their second win in as many seasons at AT&T Stadium.

In two weeks, the Cardinals could be back at AT&T Stadium for the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Do the Cowboys want to see Arizona again?

“Damn,” snapped defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. “They came out and gave us their best version tonight, we went out and competed and, we are just going to improve. If we see them again, they will take everything out of us. “

Prescott also hopes to see Arizona again.

“I mean, to get to where we are going, we have to do better. Obviously, this team gave us their best version and we are three points behind. If we start the postseason against them, we will be excited. I mean, we are excited about where we are heading. We’re headed, in the direction this team is going. We’ll play here. We’ll play at their house, in their backyard, whatever. I have a lot of confidence in this team. “