Cowboys may be America’s Team, but not a champion
Enough of living in the past, New England Patriot fans.
You all want Rob Gronkowski to unretire and the apologetic Antonio Brown to come back.
Stop. They’re both gonzo and are not walking through that door, even though the rumors persist, especially with Brown and his foolishness. One is enjoying his time away from football and the other one is a pain even while he’s away from football. Patriots, stay away from Brown, please, and there are now reports they indeed will do just that.
Let’s focus instead on the present, and that means a fun team coming to Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Let’s focus on which one you want to call “America’s Team.”
The Cowboys have always had national appeal. The Patriots have national prominence, but we wouldn’t quite call it appeal. For some, maybe, there are a lot of transplanted New Englanders and everyone loves a winner.
But let’s not live in the past with these Cowboys. America’s Team hasn’t been to a Super Bowl in 34 years, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in 1996 (the ’95 season). Amazing, right?
In fact, they haven’t had a sniff of one – meaning making it to the NFC Championship Game – since that same season, when they beat the Packers 38-27.
Since then, Dallas’ playoff record is 4-10. Not even the great Bill Parcells could get them back to the NFC title game.
Think about that again: 34 years.
Still, history goes a long way. As Patriots coach Bill Belichick said this week, “The Cowboys organization is obvously one of the premier franchises in all of sports, the National Fooball League.”
Their gold – make that silver – glittered back in the 1990s, when an unemployed Belichick, according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, asked him to keep him in mind for a coaching job.
“I don’t know if I quite remember it the way Jerry described it,” Belichick said, “but he’s probably got a better memory than I do.”
There is one thing the Cowboys have done better than the Patriots lately: Make good use of pass rusher Michael Bennett, whom the Patriots suspended for a week and then released. He’s been a force with the Cowboys the last couple of weeks.
“He’s really transitioned very smoothly into our team,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “A really well-respected guy, well-respected player, and trying to understand how we’re asking him to do things and he’s done a really nice job for us.”
Can’t win them all, right?
We almost did last week; the Texans ruined perfection. Here goes another try:
PATRIOTS 24, COWBOYS 19
Let’s not get too carried away with the Tom Brady Pout. The Patriots will still struggle a bit on offense, and may even get a defensive score. But first, it’s home – that helps the offense. Second, the coaching matchup, Belichick vs. Garrett, just isn’t a fair fight. It’s 10 and 1, here we come for the Patriots and their fans. Brady sore elbow? He’ll play. End of story.
JETS 17, RAIDERS 14
The Jets? Really? It’s probably more believable to see the Jets pull off the upset win at home than it is the Raiders to leave MetLife Stadium with a 7-4 record, looking at the playoffs. But Sam Darnold is going to have to play like he has the last two weeks.
BILLS 24, BRONCOS 17
Josh Allen finally looked like an NFL quarterback last week, throwing for 256 yards and three TDs – albeit against Miami. But the Broncos just keep finding ways to lose, and can’t score. And won’t score enough against this Buffalo defense.
TITANS 17, JAGUARS 14
We wish one and only one thing to come from this game: That maybe Mike Vrabel makes a pledge that if his Titans win and eventually make the playoffs, that he’ll get rid of that awful mustache.
PACKERS 30, 49ERS 23
Sorry Jimmy G, this one is all about Aaron R. The Niners barley got by the Cardinals, and Green Bay is coming off a bye and will be looking to begin the home stretch with a good performance. This Sunday Night game will tell us a lot about both teams.
SEAHAWKS 20, EAGLES 14
Seattle looks like it could give some teams trouble in the playoffs, if the Seahawks can make it. To do that they need to beat teams like the Eagles. Russell Wilson vs. Carson Wentz: let’s see, one is an MVP candidate and the other was once but has clearly regressed.
RAVENS 24, RAMS 17
Great Monday Night matchup. But really, can we all finally agree that one, Lamar Jackson is the real deal, and two, that Jared Goff isn’t? The Ravens present Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips with his latest challenge, but if Baltimore can run the ball, the Rams are in trouble, fighting for their playoff lives.
LAST WEEK: 6-1
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251 or email@example.com. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).