NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 19: Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys dives into the endzone to score against the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on December 19, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
On Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys came away with an all-important win, an improbable one that could—potentially—be a season-saver. One would be hard-pressed to say the Cowboys aren't in an enviable position at the moment, just a win and a New York loss away from a playoff berth.
But nothing has been won quite yet; the Dallas Cowboys and their fans are painfully aware of this, as well as of the sting of watching an enviable position in the playoff race disintegrate into an early winter vacation. This is because last season, the team was in a strikingly similar spot.
After whipping the New York Giants 20-8 in week 15, the Cowboys went to 9-5, in complete control of their playoff destiny. Missing the playoffs completely seemed barely conceivable, at this point; but the Cowboys managed to pull it off.
Surrendering a late lead to the Baltimore Ravens in week 16 and, then, being summarily crushed into oblivion by the Eagles in Philly, led to a stunned Cowboys team, muddling through a long winter on their way to a shot at redemption.
Well, here it is, and the similarities are kind of frightening. As for the Cowboys themselves, they seem intent on avoiding another December to be forgotten, and were quick to look forward after the win Saturday night.
“It’s a win, and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for the next game,” said safety Ken Hamlin. “We’ve got the holidays coming up, but we’ve got to take the days that we need to, to not have a letdown coming into the next game.”
While far from an end-all, be-all win, many of the Cowboys saw the victory in the Superdome as a potential boost to begin the crucial homestretch, which will see Dallas take on two division rivals in Philadelphia and Washington.