Playoffs a Certainty?

Finally, the sports world has finally taken notice that the Dallas Cowboys are for real. While some people question the immediate schedule, all the Cowboys have to do is avoid a complete implosion down the stretch to the make the playoffs in 2003. Here's why we think it will happen.

The 2003 NFL Playoffs and the Dallas Cowboys.

Just two months ago, it was next to impossible to mention those two phrases in the same sentence. Now, it seems as though the playoffs and the Cowboys are on a colision course for a showdown in early January.

Bill Parcells is the king of downplaying the Cowboys' fast start, but even he admitted earlier today that his team is in a unique position.

"We've got a lot of things to work on here," Parcells said. "But it's better to be working on them with a positive environment. I know we're going to have some crisis here during the season. We could lose four or five in a row. That could happen, and we still wouldn't be out of the race."

He's right, even if the Cowboys lay an egg in multiple games from here on out, the foundation has already been built to enjoy a postseason run in 2003.

A quick look at the schedule confirms that very notion.

Sure, the Cowboys will be picked to lose this weekend in Tampa Bay, even though the oddsmakers only list them as 6-point underdogs to the defending world champions. However after the Bucs, Quincy Carter and company have two very winnable home games against Washington and Buffalo.

Just for kicks, let's assume that the Cowboys only win one of those next three games. Next comes a difficult road trip to Bill Parcells' old stomping grounds in Foxboro, and then the Cowboys return home for what figure to be two more tough contests against Miami and Carolina.

Again, let's assume the worst and say the Cowboys only manage to win one out of those three games. That would give Dallas a record of 7-5 heading into the final four games of the season.

Now, here comes the bad news.

Three of those final four games are on the road, culminating in the season finale against the New Orleans Saints.

The Cowboys would have to figure out a way to go 2-2 down the stretch to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. That means they would have to beat the New York Giants at home, and then beat either Washington, Philadelphia, or New Orleans on the road to sneak into the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

But again, that's painting the ugly version of the 2003 season. Keep in mind that Carolina, Washington, and Buffalo will all likely come to Texas Stadium as underdogs.

And then of course, you could go the unthinkable route. An upset of Tampa Bay, a sweep of the Redskins (well we all know that's not a far-fetched notion), a sweep of the Giants, and an 12-4 record and a bye during the first round of the playoffs.

Okay, where am I going with this?

My point is simple. The Dallas Cowboys have already equaled their win total of a year ago. And because of that and that alone, the Dallas Cowboys have already exceeded expectations in 2003.

And even with playoff expectations now firmly on the shoulders of Bill Parcells, Quincy Carter, Roy Williams, and Troy Hambrick, this team will find a way to make the playoffs this season.


Because the Cowboys match up well with teams like New York, Washington and Carolina at home. The Panthers are clearly overrated and were exposed by Tennessee this weekend with the deep ball by Steve McNair. The Redskins are on shaky ground under second year head coach Steve Spurrier, and the Giants already felt the wrath of Parcells earlier this year in a Monday night game.

Certainly, we could talk X's and O's all day long and prove why Dallas will 10+ games, but the simpler version can be boiled down to one sentence.

The Cowboys play defense, and play it well.

The work ethic and intensity instilled in this team by Bill Parcells is unparalleled with any team in the National Football League.

"Coach Parcells has changed everything here," said veteran safety Darren Woodson. "Anything is possible with this team. Anything. And we really believe that and I think that makes all the difference in the world with this team once we take the field."

The fans are starting to believe. It's obvious the players believe, now all that's left is Bill Parcells himself.

"We've got a long way to go," said Bill Parcells at his weekly press conference earlier today. "You guys are so far ahead. We've got so much to do. A lot of people don't, but I have a realistic perception."

I'm telling you now, the realistic perception has the Cowboys winning 10 games and heading to the playoffs this year.

Bank on it.

CowboysHQ Top Stories