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The Dallas Cowboys are just below the middle of the pack regarding their odds to win Super Bowl XLIX.
Below is a list of all teams. Predictably, most oddsmakers think the Seahawks and Broncos will play again.
Denver Broncos 13/2
Seattle Seahawks 13/2
San Francisco 49ers 7/1
New England Patriots 9/1
Green Bay Packers 11/1
New Orleans Saints 14/1
Chicago Bears 16/1
Indianapolis Colts 16/1
Philadelphia Eagles 25/1
Atlanta Falcons 33/1
Carolina Panthers 33/1
Detroit Lions 33/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 33/1
Arizona Cardinals 40/1
Baltimore Ravens 40/1
Cincinnati Bengals 40/1
New York Giants 40/1
San Diego Chargers 40/1
Dallas Cowboys 50/1
Kansas City Chiefs 50/1
Miami Dolphins 50/1
St. Louis Rams 50/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/1
Washington Redskins 50/1
Cleveland Browns 66/1
Houston Texans 66/1
New York Jets 66/1
Buffalo Bills 75/1
Minnesota Vikings 75/1
Oakland Raiders 100/1
Tennessee Titans 100/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 200/1
The Cowboys’ chances of winning the NFC are 26 to 1. Dallas shares those odds with the Giants, Rams, and Lions.
The Seahawks are 16/5 favorites to win the NFC title, while San Francisco’s odds are 21/5.
The news today is that DeMarcus Ware signed a three-year contract with the Denver Broncos. Ware thus joins a fairly short list of Dallas players who have eventually migrated to Denver.
Some relevant trivia:
- The first noteworthy Dallas player to join the Broncos was Craig Morton, who led Denver to the Super Bowl after joining the team in 1977.
- Of course, former Cowboy running back Dan Reeves became the Broncos’ head coach in 1981, and two of his assistants—Wade Phillips and Chan Gailey—later became head coaches in Dallas.
- Former Dallas defensive back Charlie Waters was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator under Phillips in 1993 and 1994.
- Ware is the highest-profile Dallas player to become a member of the Broncos via either trade or free agency since Tony Dorsett’s trade to Denver in 1988.
- And for trivia that is beside the point—What did the Cowboys get for Dorsett? A conditional fifth-round pick. The selection? Defensive tackle Jeff Roth of Florida. He never played a game in the NFL.
- As for Ware, he was scheduled to make $12.25 million with Dallas but will now make $13 million in Denver. Makes sense.
Now some trivia questions:
Two defensive linemen for the Cowboys during the 1990s joined the Broncos as free agents in the early 2000s. Who were they?
The scratch-off card below reveals the answer.
Orkut Scrap Toys
Here we go:
The Cowboys have scored 48 or more points in 12 games in franchise history. Five of those games took place during the 1960s, three in the early 1970s, and two during the 1980 season alone. The Cowboys had not scored 48 points since October 22, 2000, when Dallas beat Arizona 48-7.
The Cowboys’ record in games in which they have scored 48 or more points is now 11-1.
In fact, the no game in which the Cowboys have scored 48 had ever been close until Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.
Here is a list:
* * *
This is the third time the Cowboys have give up 51 or more points. The previous two games took place in 1970 (54-13 loss to Minnesota) and 1962 (52-20 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals).
* * *
The Cowboys have committed turnovers in the fourth quarter of each of their losses in 2013.
In 2012, the Cowboys committed at least one fourth-quarter turnover in four games and went 1-3 in those games.
In 2011, the Cowboys committed at least one fourth-quarter turnover in three games and went 0-3 in those games.
In 2010, the Cowboys committed at least one fourth-quarter turnover in ten games and went 1-9 in those games.
* * *
The Cowboys have missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. Making the playoffs after a 2-3 start is a bit of a long-shot historically.
Incidentally, the team’s three-year playoff drought is tied for the third-longest in franchise history. If the team misses the playoffs again, the streak will be longer than the one when quarterbacks included the likes of Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Ryan Leaf, and so forth.
* * *
Tony Romo now has the franchise record with 506 passing yards in a game. It broke Don Meredith’s mark of 460 yards set against San Francisco in 1963.
Dallas quarterbacks have thrown for 400 or more yards on eight different occasions. Romo was the quarterback in five of those games.
* * *
The Cowboys record in games in which a quarterback has thrown for 400 or more yards: 1-7.
The only Dallas QB to win a game while throwing for 400 or more yards is Meredith, who threw for 406 in a 31-30 win over Washington in 1966.
* * *
Romo’s passer rating of 140.0 was the eighth-highest of his career. His best rating in a single game was 150.5 in a 38-33 win over Philadelphia in 2012.
The Cowboys’ record in games where the Romo’s QB rating was 140.0 or better: 6-2.
* * *
The Cowboys have given up 500 or more yards in a game 17 times since 1960.
Two of those games came in losses to San Diego and Denver.
In team history, the Cowboys have gone 3-14 in games in which their defense has given up 500 or more yards.
On the other hand, the Cowboys are now 15-5 in games in which their offense has gained 500 or more yards.
* * *
Sunday’s game against Denver was not the first time in which both the Cowboys and their opponent have gained 500 or more yards.
In the season-opener in 1999, the Cowboys gained 541 yards, while the Redskins gained 504, in a 41-35 Dallas win.
At one time, Tony Romo gave the Dallas Cowboys their best hope to make a Super Bowl run in several years.
He almost led the team to a playoff win in 2006. He almost led the team to the NFC Championship Game in 2007 and 2009.
He almost led the team back to the playoffs in 2011. He almost led the team back to the playoffs in 2012.
In the season finale in 2012, his Cowboys were down 21-10, but Romo started to lead a comeback. And the comeback almost happened. Romo threw a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion, giving the Cowboys a chance.
When the Cowboys got the ball back down 21-18, it was time for Romo to do better than almost. He instead threw an awkward pass that was picked off by linebacker Rob Jackson.
If it isn’t Romo making some key mistake, it is the defense falling apart at the wrong time. In the loss to the Redskins last December, the defense could have forced a field goal and given the Cowboys hope.
Instead, Washington burned more than four minutes off the clock and secured the win with a touchdown.
What does this have to do with a thrilling, 51-48 loss to the Broncos on Sunday?
Well, the Cowboys almost pulled off one of the most exciting wins in recent memory. The Cowboys almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the NFL this season.
The reason we are using the adverb almost is not entirely one person’s fault. Romo became the first Cowboy to throw for more than 500 yards in a game, and his five touchdown passes were critical in the Cowboys having a 48-41 lead.
It was not entirely the defense’s fault, even though the defense had trouble slowing down Denver’s offense. The defense did force two turnovers that led to 15 Dallas points.
The Cowboys took a 48-41 lead with 7:19 remaining. The Broncos took over at the Denver 27. Theoretically, at least, the Cowboys defense could have forced a stop.
That was not going to happen. The Cowboys could not even force a third down play, as the Broncos went 73 yards in 9 plays to tie the game at 48.
The Cowboys took over at their own 20.
On first down, Romo suffered a sack and lost six yards.
On second down, he felt pressure and stepped up into the pocket. Although he could have dumped the ball off to DeMarco Murray, he tried to force the ball to Gavin Escobar.
Danny Trevathan stepped in front of the pass and picked it off. Eight plays later, Matt Prater kicked a chip-shot field goal to give the Broncos the win.
The ruined a breakout game of sorts for young receiver Terrance Williams, who had 151 receiving yards, including an 82-yard touchdown.
Williams’ touchdown helped to spark the Cowboys when the team was down 35-20 in the third quarter. Until that play happened, the Broncos had outscored the Cowboys 28-3 between the second and third quarters.
Denver picked on embattled cornerback Morris Claiborne, but Claiborne was able to record the first interception of Peyton Manning this season. Claiborne also recovered a fumble in the first quarter.
The defensive line featured some players few of us know. David Carter? Drake Nevis? Caesar Rayford?
The nickname Doomsday Defense does not come to mind.
Sean Lee and Barry Church were always around the football, but the defense did not have answers. The Cowboys have given up 2,046 yards in five games, or an average of 409.2 yards per game.
Remember the 2010 Cowboys, who gave up a record 436 points in a 6-10 season? That team only gave up 351.8 yards per game.
Dallas is now tied in the NFC East with Philadelphia with a 2-3 record. The Cowboys play Washington next Sunday night.
Here is today’s Friday Photo Trivia question:
Seven different players had at least one rushing attempt when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII.
Tony Dorsett led the Cowboys in rushing with 66 yards on 15 carries.
The player in the picture below was second on the team in rushing with 55 yards on 14 carries.
The trivia question: did the player in the picture score a rushing touchdown?
provided by flash-gear.com
In the weekly What-If posts, we review some event (draft, game, or whatever) and consider what might have happened if history had been different. This week’s post focuses on the last four games against the Denver Broncos, who have not lost to the Cowboys since 1995.
I managed to fall behind this week, so I did draft a What-If post on Wednesday. For one week only, I’ll call this the Weekly What-If.
In real life…
The Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos during the Super Bowl seasons in 1992 and 1995. However, Dallas has lost to Denver in four straight games dating back to 1998.
None of the losses was huge, but it is worth reviewing the losses to see how any of them might have changed the Cowboys’ fortunes, both short term and long term.
Here were the actual results
What if the Cowboys had won any of these games?
The Cowboys won their first game under new head coach Chan Gailey but had to travel to Denver to face the defending Super Bowl champions.
A win would mean that the 1997 season was an aberration for the Cowboys. It would prove the dynasty could still be alive. It would mean that Gailey’s offense would give new life to the Triplets.
The Cowboys lost Troy Aikman to a broken collarbone. A redhead named Jason Garrett took over for the next five games, leading the Cowboys to a 3-2 record. It showed, to a degree, that the Cowboys could win without Aikman. However, the loss to the Broncos proved that the Cowboys were not real contenders at that point.
The 2-7 Cowboys could have derailed the Broncos’ playoff hopes by beating Denver on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys overcame a 26-3 deficit in the fourth quarter, and an extra push would have given coach Dave Campo and team a season-defining win.
And perhaps, Jerry Jones would have praised quarterback Ryan Leaf, who was the team’s fourth starting quarterback of the season.
Of course, a win would have ruined the Cowboys’ chances to have a top-five pick in the 2002 draft. Quentin Jammer would have been available.
Um, sure. I remember the loss, but I had to look up who started at QB for Dallas that day. It was indeed Leaf.
Jerry’s actual comment after the game: “[W]e’re in new territory, for me, because I’ve never had to find a quarterback before. That’s OK. I’m hell-bent on finding some consistency at the quarterback position.”
Um, sure, Jerry.
Anyway, Quincy Carter returned the following week and led the Cowboys to two straight wins. Dallas finished with a 5-11 record.
Incidentally, the Cowboys’ five wins pushed them back to the eighth pick, where they took safety Roy Williams.
By beating Denver on another Thanksgiving Day game, the Cowboys could have won their fourth consecutive game and had an 8-3 record heading into December. Dallas pushed the 8-2 Broncos into overtime, and a good break here or there could have given the Cowboys the win.
Dallas would have almost certainly made the playoffs in 2005 with that win. Bill Parcells’ club would have managed to make the playoffs twice in his first three seasons.
Ron Dayne ran 55 yards early in overtime to set up a game-winning field goal by Jason Elam. Dallas fell to 7-4.
Then Dallas lost to the Giants, falling to 7-5.
Then Dallas lost two of their final four and missed the playoffs. Again.
The loss was one of several frustrating defeats that year and had several fans, including me, start to questions whether Parcells had any magic left.
He didn’t have much.
The Cowboys were still rebounding from a disappointing 9-7 season in 2008, when the team, yet again, missed the playoffs.
A win by the 2-1 Cowboys over the 3-0 Broncos would have been huge for Wade Phillips and his club.
We’re talking about Wade Phillips and his club.
Actually, we’re talking about Jerry Jones and his club. Think about it—the Cowboys had just recorded a big win at home and had a chance to show progress with an even bigger win on the road.
Of course the Cowboys lost. A 10-0 lead disappeared, and the Broncos came away with a 17-10 win.
The 2-2 start was the worst up to that point in Phillips’ short career in Dallas. Every loss led to a call for Phillips’ head.
The team eventually rebounded to win the NFC East and a playoff game. Nevertheless, the loss was another ugly one in a game the Cowboys should have won.
The starting cornerbacks for the 1979 Dallas Cowboys were Bennie Barnes and Aaron Kyle.
The starting cornerbacks for the 1981 Dallas Cowboys were Everson Walls and Dennis Thurman.
The starting cornerbacks for the 1980 Dallas Cowboys? Think hard (and don’t look at the title of this post).
One was Steve Wilson, who became a part-time starter for the Denver Broncos and even started at right cornerback in Super Bowl XXII. He was one of the guys who Doug Williams burned in the Redskins’ 35-point second quarter.
The other was our Most Obscure Player for 1980: Aaron Mitchell.
The Cowboys took him in the second round of the 1979 draft, thanks largely to a good time in the 40-yard dash. He played his college football at UNLV and a football factory known as…
College of the Canyons in California. This was the same community college that produced Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants. Here is a piece about Mitchell posted on the college’s website.
Mitchell started 15 games with the Cowboys in 1980 and recorded three interceptions. The Cowboys traded Mitchell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 1981 season, though. Mitchell played one year in Tampa Bay. He later played for the Arizona Wranglers and Los Angeles Express of the USFL.
The Cowboys’ personnel problems had already begun by the early 1980s. Dallas used Tampa’s 11th-round pick to take a wide receiver named George Thompson, who never played a down of football in the NFL.
Even worse, the Cowboys got nothing for Wilson, waiving him after the 1981 season.
It was yet another struggle to find an obscure player on a Super Bowl-winning team. I found one, though, thanks to Super Bowl XII itself.
John Facenda famously said of Super Bowl XII, “It was fiercely fought, but frightfully flawed.” The Cowboys’ 27-10 win over the Denver Broncos featured a total of 10 turnovers, including eight by the Broncos. Of those eight, four were fumble recoveries.
In the second quarter, the Cowboys led 13-0. A Dallas drive stalled, leading to a punt. Denver’s John Schultz fumbled the ball on the return, and the player who recovered the fumble is our Most Obscure Player for 1977—
He signed as a rookie free agent in 1977. He played in all 14 games that year, primarily on special teams.
His fumble recovery in Super Bowl XII was a main career highlight. However, the play did not lead to any points. Dallas drove into field-goal range, but Efren Herrera missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.
Huther played four seasons in Dallas before being traded to the Cleveland Browns in 1981. He played one year in Cleveland and another in Chicago before returning to the Cowboys as a free agent in 1983.
He signed with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL in 1983 but was involved in a trade before ever playing with the Blitz. Chicago traded Huther to the Pittsburgh Maulers in exchange for none other than Efren Herrera, the same kicker who missed the field goal after Huther’s fumble recovery in SB XII.
Huther finished his career in Denver (another small irony) as a member of the Denver Gold in 1984.
A great defense makes stops the team needs it the most.
A great coach’s team always seems to be a page ahead of the opposition.
What the Cowboys got on Sunday was an effort by a mediocre football team that wins some and loses some. A team that wins some and loses some is probably about an 8-8 or 9-7 (or 7-9) football team.
Against the Broncos, Dallas jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Cowboys held the Broncos on three consecutive possessions, but then Tony Romo was blindsided by Renaldo Hill, causing Romo to fumble. D.J. Williams picked up the fumble and took it to the Dallas 9. From there, Kyle Orton hit Knowshon Moreno on a touchdown pass, cutting the Dallas lead to 10-7.
The Cowboys had several opportunities in the second half to extend the lead. Moreno fumbled on Denver’s opening possession of the second half, and Bradie James recovered. The play gave Dallas the ball at the Denver 27, and the Cowboys moved inside the 20. However, on a third down play from the Denver 17, Miles Austin ran a poor route, and Champ Bailey made an acrobatic interception to kill the Cowboys’ drive.
From there, the Cowboys struggled to do anything on offense. Tony Romo missed open receivers by overthrowing ball, and one of the high passes led to Roy Williams being injured. The defense held its ground for the most part until Orton led the Broncos on a drive starting with 9:35 remaining. The Cowboys held Denver to a field goal, tying the game.
Dallas needed to put together a drive with 5:58 remaining, but after moving the ball to midfield, the drive stalled. Denver got the ball at its own 27, and it only took three plays to score. Orton hit Brandon Marshall on a fade pass that Terence Newman could not manage to deflect. Marshall came down with the ball and was off and running. Ken Hamlin made another awful attempt at a tackle, and Marshall scored.
Credit Romo on the next drive with hitting Sam Hurd on a fourth-down play that resulted in a 53-yard gain. None of the offensive minds should take credit for what happened inside the Dallas 10 with 27 seconds left. Dallas had a first-and-goal from the 8. Romo threw underneath to Patrick Crayton, who was stopped at the Denver 2. The Cowboys were out of timeouts, and Romo was not able to spike the ball until there were only nine seconds left. Romo tried two slant plays to Sam Hurd, but Denver deflected both passes. The player defending Hurd on both passes: Champ Bailey.
Romo completed 25 of 42 passes for 255 yards and a pick. For the first time since taking over as a starter, Romo failed to throw a touchdown pass in two consecutive games. The Dallas rushing game never got on track, with Marion Barber and Tashard Choice combining for only 74 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys have faced the Denver Broncos ten times in franchise history, dating back to 1973. The Cowboys won the first game on December 2, 1973 and have won four other games since then. Each of the other four wins game during Super Bowl seasons, including Super Bowl XII itself.
The last time the Cowboys beat the Broncos was 1995. Denver was led by second-year head coach Wade Phillips, who brought to Irving what was supposed to be one of the stronger teams in the AFC. Despite John Elway’s two touchdown passes to Anthony Miller (a future Cowboy), the Broncos trailed nearly the entire game in a 31-21 Dallas win.
Three years later, it was the Broncos who were Super Bowl bound, having come off their 1997 championship. Dallas was trying to rebound from a 6-10 season in 1997 with a new head coach in Chan Gailey. The Cowboys traveled to Denver and were manhandled, giving up 35 first-half points in a 42-23 loss to Denver. The Broncos knocked Troy Aikman out of the game with a broken collarbone, leaving the Cowboys to rely on backup Jason Garrett.
And three years after that, the Cowboys hosted Denver on Thanksgiving Day. After falling behind 26-3, the Cowboys roared back, closing the gap to 26-24. When Dallas scored in the fourth quarter on a Reggie Swinton punt return to close the gap to 26-16, Dallas coach Dave Campo opted to kick the extra point instead of going for two. A two-point conversion would have put Dallas behind by eight instead of nine, giving the Cowboys a chance to tie with another touchdown and two-point conversion. By settling for the field goal, Dallas needed two scores. Campo was criticized after the loss for conservative play-calling, but by that point, very little was going well for the Dallas franchise.
The teams last met in 2005 in one of the most disappointing losses during the reign of Dallas head coach Bill Parcells. The Cowboys came from behind to force overtime, but Ron Dayne’s 55-yard run set up a Jason Elam field goal, giving Denver a 24-21 win.
Now Phillips, Garrett, and Campo will lead the Cowboys into Denver to try to beat the 3-0 Broncos. Most experts favor the Cowboys, though a few think the Broncos are for real and will knock off Dallas.
Dallas Morning News
Three of the five staffers with the DMN picked Dallas.
Rick Gosselin: Denver
Tim Cowlishaw: Dallas
Kevin Sherrington: Denver
Todd Archer: Dallas
David Moore: Dallas
Six of the eight experts with ESPN also took Dallas.
Will Allen: Dallas
Mike Golic: Dallas
Merrill Hoge: Dallas
Ron Jaworski: Dallas
Chris Mortensen: Denver
Adam Schefter: Dallas
Mark Schlereth: Dallas
Seth Wickersham: Denver
Accuscore: Dallas 24, Denver 20
The Cowboys won 60% of the simulations on Accuscore by an average score of 23.7 to 20.4.
The Broncos are 3-0, but are underdogs at home vs the Cowboys. The
Broncos run defense has played surprising well, but they wil have their
hands full with Dallas. The Cowboys are averaging over 130 rushing
yards. If Denver can limit the Cowboys to under 125 rushing yards they
pull close to even with Dallas winning 49 percent. However, if Dallas
runs for over 125 yards the Cowboys are heavy 88 percent favorites. The
Cowboys pass rush has not yet dominated a game this year. If Kyle Orton
is not sacked Denver wins 52 percent of the time, but if Orton is
sacked 3+ times Denver wins just 26 percent, not only because of the
lost yardage but also because of the higher rate of turnovers coming
from being sacked.
Madden Simulation: Dallas 28, Denver 24
The Cowboys likewise had good fortune on the Madden simulation.
The Denver Broncos have to be considered the most surprising 3-0 team
in the league, and if they beat the Cowboys, they will go one step
further in establishing themselves as a serious threat in the AFC West.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, the defense, which up to this point has
been the strongest unit on the team, gives up a last-minute touchdown
run to Marion Barber as Dallas pulls out the victory, 28-24.
WhatIfSports: Dallas 22, Denver 18
WhatIfSports made another prediction with a four-point spread. Dallas won 69.8% of the simulations.
My Guess (3-0 this season)
Last week, I predicted a 31-21 win for the Cowboys.
The pressure is on Dallas this week, but I think they will come
through. Tony Romo will get Roy Williams and Jason Witten involved
early, and then the team can rely on its running backs. Even without
Marion Barber, the Cowboys will control most of the game on the ground.
Carolina will score a couple of late touchdowns to make the game look
closer than it will actually be.
Dallas did get Williams and Witten involved, but the entire team was sluggish during the first half. Carolina drove into Dallas territory after the Cowboys took a 21-7 lead, but Carolina turned the ball over on a late fumble.
My predictions thus far:
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
I don’t think Dallas will take many chances this week, especially early. We’ll see lots of Witten and the running back duo of Marion Barber and Tashard Choice. Denver does not make many mistakes on offense, but the Dallas defense will come through with a couple of really big plays to help the Cowboys to improve to 3-1.