Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Early Dallas Talk


I'm trying to figure out my thoughts right now. I can make a convincing argument for and against us winning. I just don't know which to believe at this point. Anyone who thinks Dallas is an overrated joke is mistaken. They might be getting over-hyped, but winning 10 games shows that the team is better than last year. Don't expect a 44-6 thrashing like the '08 finale.

Dallas has won 2 games in a row.

DAL 24
NO 17

DAL 17

This followed a 2 game losing streak.

NYG 31
DAL 24

SD 20
DAL 17

There is one trend that fits all these games. In the 2 wins Dallas had good halftime leads. In the 2 losses Dallas was behind at the half, although just a small margin. The point isn't that Dallas can't come back. The point is that Dallas is a front runner.

The Cowboys play their best when things are good. Give them a lead and they are in a comfort zone. That takes the edge off and relaxes them. Put them behind, even if only a few points and suddenly there is pressure. That changes things. The Cowboys can overcome it, but they don't thrive under pressure.

Dallas has won a couple of tight games, but they were against mediocre teams (KC, WAS). And Dallas needed a lot of luck to beat WAS.

They did beat us in a close game, but that is somewhat misleading. The game was tied at 13 when they connected on a long TD to go up 20-13. We added a FG, but weren't able to get a stop on defense. The winning TD came with more than 8 minutes left. That's not exactly a nail biter like some of the other games.

If we can get a lead at halftime and make Dallas play us in a tight game I think that will give us an advantage. We've been winning the close games. We're a different team than the one they faced back on Nov. 8th.

An Eagles blowout would also be highly acceptable.


I've been checking, but don't have any info yet on who the Eagles will add. They are looking into several scenarios. They could add Dallas Reynolds from the Practice Squad. They could add a young player to develop for next season. They could add someone to help on KO returns depending on Quintin Demps health. We'll find out soon enough.


em26jamie said...

Suddenly that Raiders loss looks huge.

T_S_O_P said...

Biggest Game Ever
On top of that at 13:00 GMT and to quote goleeds99

"I can say without hyperbole that Leeds United Man Utd matchup on Sunday will be the most important game in the history of (association) football, if not all of sports. OK, maybe that is a small lie. You can bet the hyperbole will be flowing in the build up to this game. Anytime Scum and Leeds play it is a big game. We hate them. They hate us."

T_S_O_P said...

So Tommy, I am as relaxed as you when it comes to watching sport; so do you have any advice?

Tommy Lawlor said...

This goleeds guy sounds pretty smart.

RE: Raiders loss

It actually could help. Every team loses a bad game. Saints vs Bucs. Steelers vs KC, CLE, and OAK. Vikings go down to the Bears. And so on...

The fact that our bad loss came vs an AFC team is what gives us the tie-breaker over MIN. They went 3-1 vs the AFC. If they lost to BAL, but beat CHI we'd be out of luck.

I certainly understand the point that we could be 12-3 right now. Do you think of us as a 13 win team? I'm shocked we could win 12 with the strangeness of the season.

Each team only has so many wins and losses. I don't think we get on this winning streak without the 5-4 start.

What happened early on made the players and coaches adjust to get us to where we are now.

RE: What to do to relax?

I'm a bundle of nerves on gameday. Heck, I'm nervous right now just thinking about it.

I am one of those people who embraces things. I watch a scary movie to be scared. I watch a comedy to laugh. I watch sports to care about what happens.

That puts me on emotional rollercoasters quite a bit. I get fired up about games where I'm not a huge fan of either team.

I know I should relax more and not get so fired up during games, but I also don't want to lose my passion for sports even if it goes overboard at times.


Adam S. said...

I'm kinda the same way, I get this nervous feeling in my chest. I get it on Sundays waiting for the game, I get it while I'm driving to play rec hockey, I got it my whole life before every soccer game I played regardless if I knew we were gonna smoke the other team. Hell I even get it waiting to find out who is gonna be voted off of Survivor (Russell got screwed BIG TIME). But I wouldn't have it any other way, get's me excited. Sunday is gonna be a long day waiting till kickoff.

Myron said...

Honestly, forget the Raiders. If they can't beat the Cowboys the second time around, they don't *deserve* the second seed and the bye week.

If they can persevere and beat the Cowboys on their home turf, they deserve to rest up and play their Divionsal game at home. It's that simple. It's a test of will and of skill.

The one thing that bothers me the most is the loss of Jamaal. That was such a huge blow - the offensive line was finally starting to gel and dominate the LOS. Without Jamaal, we're going to have HUGE problems with the run game and with protecting McNabb from Ratliff and Ware. I'm just so worried about those two guys. This could actually get VERY ugly if we can't stop arguably the best defensive line in football.

Dollar Brand said...

So you are a Leeds fan? That would be two big games Sunday then. Some bad blood in that rivalry as well.

One of the things I most enjoy about sports is the unpredictability. If someone had told me Kolb would throw 2 300 yard games, Vick would be signed, Westbrook would miss over half the season and the result is a shot at a #2 seed with no qb controversy I would be looking for Alan Funt.
Sunday cannot get here fast enough.

Baloophi said...

@ Dollar

In a way, aren't we all looking for Alan Funt?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I love late season / playoff time in sports.

Back in 1981 I became a huge fan of the Houston Rockets in the span of a week because I watched their miniseries defeat of the Lakers. The Sixers played the Pacers and those games didn't make national TV.

Magic Johnson had missed half the year with a broken wrist or arm. The Lakers had a ton of talent, but weren't clicking. Here came the Rockets. The miniseries was the best of 3 games.

Houston had this guy named Moses Malone that I'd never heard of. He turned out to be a great player. They had Robert Reid, who could shoot. They had Mike Dunleavy (now a coach). They had Billy Paultz (any player nicknamed The Whopper is my hero). They have Allen Leavell and Bill Willoughby. Bill was one of the first guys to go from HS to the NBA, along with Moses. Bill could jump out of the gym. He blocked a sky-hook of Kareem's in that series. I had a B&W pic of that from the newspaper that I loved.

The Rockets beat the Lakers and eventually went to the NBA Finals. They lost to Boston, but that series is one of my favorite sports memories.

I had a similar experience in watching the NY Islanders go against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1993 playoffs. I hated Super Mario for some reason. I became a huge fan of the Isles for 5 games. I watched every second of the series and it was magical for some reason.

Putting my love for sports into words is really difficult. How do you convey all of this feeling and emotion and experience into mere words?

When I'm really into a game or series or team there is almost something magical about it. I live and die with the experience. That isn't smart or logical...it's just the way I am.

I can't get that into every game or sport. I'd wear out emotionally. I have to pick and choose my spots. After all, I have to save something up for our next NFC Title game loss.

Boyboy said...

If we lose on Sunday, there's a decent chance that we'll have to play in Dallas again the following week. The thought of losing to them three times in one season is too much for me to handle. I can only hope that our experience in a playoff atmosphere will allow us to pull this one out.

Offensively, we just need to keep doing what we've been doing. McNabb can't hold the ball too long. I always worry about the blindside strip sack, especially when Ware is rushing. He's also been a little reckless trying to force the ball to DeSean the last two weeks. We can't have that.

On defense, let's mimic what we did to Vernon Davis two weeks ago to try to limit Witten. He's Romo's go to guy. We can cover Miles Austin. Tackling him after the catch is another dilemma.

On special teams, Akers has to continue to be a machine. Why can I see Rocca being the first punter to hit that damn TV? And it will be after an awesome punt that pins them deep (do-over). I love being a paranoid, pessimistic Eagles fan.

Ben said...

One of my biggest worries is our biggest X Factor, McNabb.

He's the guy who wins us games, but at the same time I think a lot of people are over looking his performances the past 2 months. Yes we've won a lot, and I love McNabb, but McNabb has thrown a pick in 7 of his last 8 games. In 2 of those games (one which was Dallas), he threw 2 picks.

That's a total of 9 of his 10 total INTs on the season being in the past 2 months, when, as a team, we've been playing our best football. Kinda ironic. Could it be our D stepping up? Our running game showing more consistancy? Our Oline gelling? Our success in the clutch?

Atlanta aside (let's face it that game barely counts), we haven't played mistake free football in a while. I'm still waiting to see us bring that "A-game" we talked about a few weeks ago. We've had clutch moments and some really good performances, but I still don't think we've had that game where we've been able to walk out saying that we dominated in every aspect of that game.

I know we're a winning team, and a very explosive team, but I'm still anxious to see how we perform against the best teams.

What ever happened to those plays where DeSean would come around and McNabb would either fake to him and hand to the RB, or hand to him and fake to the RB, or fake both. I feel like we always have success with those and don't use them after a game or two.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: DJax coming around on run plays

It is an End Around if he gets the ball. If he is just a decoy that is called the ghost reverse. You do that to freeze the backside DE and you have the backside OT go block a LB. The DE then has to decide whether to crash inside and play the run or keep contain on the receiver coming at him.

RE: McNabb / hot or cold streak

One of the picks against Dallas was Maclin's fault.

Donovan is taking more chances this year because we have such talented receivers. I can live with a few extra picks because he's giving his guys a chance to make plays.

Some of the picks are just bad throws. Still, we're scoring points and moving the ball. I'd rather he didn't get too conservative at this point.

Prem Prakash said...

I love the feeling of getting jacked up over a sports event. I try and do two things at once -- allow myself to be overwhelmed by the drama and, at the same time, keep a quiet voice in the back of my mind, "It's only a game." Helps me be crazy and sane at the same time.

Cliff said...

Tommy's anecdotes about sport series that didn't necessarily involve a favorite team reminds me of the only two times I really got fired up over a game that didn't include a previous life-long favorite.

The first was the UT-USC Rose Bowl from a few years ago. I hated the Trojans and their over-hyped star players. I'm a Hokie and didn't have much reason to watch the Rose Bowl (never have, actually), but I hung on every snap during that game. Watching Vince Young carry the Longhorns to victory was magical.

A series that I got absolutely engrossed in was the 2007 Warriors-Mavs NBA playoff series. It had so many story lines: Don Nelson seeking revenge against the Mavs, Warriors first playoff appearance in 13 years, etc. The Warriors had a "Cinderella" quality to their team.

I really like Baron Davis and I love the "loose" playing philosophy on Don Nelson. I also had a buddy who thought the Mavs' Dirk Nowitzki is the best player in the NBA and he reminded me every time something NBA-related came up. It was wonderful watching the Warriors completely shut down that season's MVP.

Other than that, most of my sports watching life has been heartbreak - Flyers fall to Pens, Hokies choke, Eagles lose another NFC Championship, etc.

Stephen said...

I can't really get too involved in watching sports other than football, but basketball sometimes is cool. I mostly watch a couple of different storylines. I hate the New England Patriots and Tom Brady with a passion so I've been in heaven this year with their mini-meltdown. If they go one and done in the playoffs I'll be thrilled. I'm actually a big Peyton Manning fan, its my personal opinion that he's a better QB than Brady and I think his consistency is beyond absurd. He has an awareness at the line of scrimmage no other QB in the league has.

I like the Celtics because I hate the Lakers. Its really that simple. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Pitmanite said...

@ Cliff

I am 100% with you on the UT vs USC title game. i was living out in LA at the time, and USC was in the middle of their dominating run so I was surrounded by a bunch of annoying USC fans who jumped on the bandwagon. on the night of the game i left a bar at halftime and went back to my apt because I was afraid i was going to commit a homicide if the trojans won.

Luckily Vince Young might have been the most money athlete ever in a championship game and literally put his team on his back. I said that night that I was going to be a vince young fan for life, regardless of how his pro career turned out.

as far as the eagles are concerned i think i'm going to have to keep up my run of going into the game as mr. negative. it makes me feel better and somehow i've convinced myself that i'm helping the eagles chances of doing well (some sort of a reverse jinx) if i say they are going to do poorly.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Keep doing whatever you're doing. We must win on Sunday.

Edward said...

"I was kind of lost for words for a minute. I didn't know what to say. The only thing that came to my mind was my father," Jackson said. "He always said you haven't seen anything yet until you get to the NFL. He motivated me so much to want to go out there and achieve things like this and with the success of the team that we're having right now, it's easier for me to go out and make these things happen."

Man does that quote make me feel good about Desean. I'm still worred he's gonna turn into a diva but quotes like are certainly helping me think otherwise.

T_S_O_P said...

I do have some Valium, but it will be staying in the drawer, I'm saving it for a burning death from 30,000ft.

Leeds at Man U in the FA Cup in their first meeting for at least 4 years. Two divisions apart, we stick little chance against their second team let alone their starters. Does that mean less emotion? I wish.

I blame this squarely on the doorstep of the Dallas Cowboys for doubling their December winning total of late. They should be eliminated from at least the NFC East picture already, don't they know they can't win games in December? I hope we make them suffer.

On top of that, a dark secret - my brother is a bandwagoner fan of both Man U and Dallas. He also has little in the way of tact or decorum. And nor will I if things go my way!

Finally, Tommy I had to laugh when you wrote this:

"Putting my love for sports into words is really difficult. How do you convey all of this feeling and emotion and experience into mere words?"

As someone who finds it very difficult to write anything coherently, I shudder to think how it would be if you found it easy.

Dollar Brand said...

Man U. and Dallas? Yikes. Is he a Yankees fan as well? That's the whole evil empire right there. Must have been interesting when "ooh, aah, Cantona" left Elland Road.

I cannot wait to rid the country of Romo-itis and dispatch our old enemy at Jerry world. I really hope that Demps is healthy enough to return kicks though.

Ben said...

Interesting ESPN stat:

we basically abuse dallas every time we play them in December this decade. They haven't scored more than 10 against us since at least '03 in those games (sorry for the inaccuracy I just woke up and don't have my contacts in).

Unfortunately Dallas may have a loophole to their suckiness--It's gonna be January.

But hey, they haven't won in January in over a decade. Both teams are just so good and know each other so well that I don't think there's any "figuring things out". We just gotta wait and see who wants it more on Sunday.

Adam S. said...

My favorite sports teams my entire life have been Eagles, Celtics, Ottawa Senators. Until the Celtics won the Championship 2 years I had never had a favorite team win any championship of any sort. Needless to say I was a little more than excited when they won.

Actually I remember having a conversation with a buddy of mine the year before and saying that I was contemplating giving up on the Celtics. They were in a serious rut of doing nothing and I was sick of it, I didn't have any other team in mind. Then I got a phonecall a couple days later from the same friend telling me they had signed Garnett and then Allen shortly after. Finally I said to myself I may actually be able to enjoy a championship. Boy oh Boy did I revel in that one for a couple months.

Now if Philly can only pull one out. My friends and family will hate me because it will be in their faces for like 5 months straight.

Adam said...

Any chance you could do a post combining old game notes on MJG so we have an early feel of what to expect? Also, can't recall off the top of my head, but do you have any old notes on Cole's play at center before? Compiling those would be a great read.

T_S_O_P said...

@ Dollar

The bandwagon hadn't arrived in 1992, it rolled in at the same time for both franchises and he hopped aboard.

I don't know if he follows baseball, but if he does, I would be surprised if the Yankees weren't his team, they fit the MO.

I'd like to say that I did my bit, I took him (he's 11 years younger) to both Elland Road to see Leeds as well as Wembley to see the Eagles play the Browns in the American Bowl pre season match up.