In the wake of their 34-7 beatdown at the hands of the Eagles, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has spent all week in what some might consider a state of euphoric denial, insisting the loss didn't mean much and that the team will start winning lots of games.
Now, I already posited that the Double J was saying this as a way of subtly making an ultimatum to Jason Garrett. But there's a reason that Jerry has cause to be legitimately optimistic, and that would be the Cowboys upcoming schedule. Have you seen it? Oh, people. Oh, what a gift. Here are the Cowboys' next five opponents:
at Washington (3-4)
at Arizona (1-6)
That's four games against losing teams over the course of five weeks. There's little doubt that Jerry looks at that schedule and sees a 7-5 record before the Cowboys close out with three divisional games in the final four weeks of the season. Meanwhile, the 3-4 Eagles have to face three winning teams in their next four, including the Patriots. Despite the fact that the Eagles are clearly playing better football than the Cowboys right now, the Cowboys could easily pass them in the standings over the course of the next month.
That's what Jerry Jones is counting on. He believes this team will take four of the next five and emerge confident enough to win those big games against the Giants (two of them, and both possibly with Ahmad Bradshaw out of the lineup) and Eagles at the end.
But that leaves very little room for error. This team can't lose more than two of the next five, and they REALLY can't lose to Miami at home. A loss in any of those games will make it nearly impossible to take hold of the East, especially when Philly also gets to play the likes of Seattle, Arizona and Miami in the coming weeks. With the NFC North and NFC South both so strong, there's probably only going to be one team out of the East that makes the playoffs. Jerry Jones is looking at the schedule and betting it's his team. The Double J is remarkably confident about it. We'll see what happens once the games are actually played.