Patrick [No C] Walker joined the Dallas Cowboys Digital Media Group as a author and media persona in July 2022, having professionally lined the NFL and, extra particularly, the Cowboys since 2007.
He not too long ago did this for CBS Sports activities by way of 247Sports, the place he is additionally hung out delving into crowd recruiting as nicely — finally turning into recognized for the extent of unapologetic objectivity that many have described as his distinctive model of soccer “science.”
Welcome to ‘The Science Lab’, the place the place soccer details and in-depth evaluation at all times conquer emotion.
Frisco, Texas – The extra I discover myself battling over what advised the Dallas Cowboys relaxation their starter early in Week 16 in opposition to the Philadelphia Eagles after which, of their final two common season video games main as much as their upcoming showdown in opposition to the Washington Chiefs, the extra I by chance grow to be a jerk. Just like former NFL coach Herm Edwards.
“You play to win matches – hey?! You do not simply play to win matches!”
I imply, critically, let’s actually take into consideration this for a second.
Sure, the Cowboys missed an ideal alternative to offer the Jacksonville Jaguars an time beyond regulation win in Week 15 (sure, given, given it continues to show that the one staff that may actually beat Dallas in 2022-23 is the one with a star on its helmet).
And sure that’s virtually They worn out their possibilities of stealing the NFC East throne and the next playoff seed within the course of, however have you learnt what he did not?
He did not really kill their possibilities.
It turned a protracted shot, however the shot was nonetheless inside their attain, so having to carry the weapons and let the Philadelphia Eagles comfortably take the division and the highest seed within the NFC — on Christmas Eve at AT&T Stadium, no much less — ought to by no means have been an concept that occurred to anybody. anyplace on the soccer loving planet; Nonetheless, there have been really those that had been fully tremendous with letting issues unfold on this manner.
Fortuitously, the Cowboys and head coach Mike McCarthy know just a little one thing about learn how to play chess, which NFL soccer turns to within the ultimate weeks of the common season, however let me clarify what I imply by that.
As soon as found, NFL MVP season frontrunner Jalen Hurts suffered a shoulder damage that required relaxation, and as such, pushing Gardner Minshaw beneath heart, the Cowboys’ odds of all of the sudden taking on the division elevated regardless of what occurred in Jacksonville. All of the Cowboys needed to do was defeat Minshew to maintain the race alive for a minimum of one other week, and they also did, with a 40-34 win on Santa’s Journey Day.
Then got here the Tennessee Titans, a staff whose destiny rests solely in 2022 with their Week 18 battle with the aforementioned Jaguars — resting starters like Derrick Henry within the course of to verify they will be as shut to totally loaded as attainable within the wake of shedding Ryan Tannehill for the season to damage.
Beat the Giants on Thursday and the Eagles will really feel strain to decide on Hurts, they usually considered it, however felt sensible to ask Minshew to do what they’re paying him to do (you realize, like what Cooper Rush really did within the wake of shedding Dak Prescott ?) and seize the division and prime seat within the NFC in his Mulligan bid.
He and the Eagles failed miserably on this mission, being silenced pretty simply by Andy Dalton and the Saints’ defensive unit in a 20-10 loss – in Philadelphia.
Identical to that, McCarthy’s use of The Sicilian Protection paid off.
Bobby Fisher could be proud.
Now, Philly are confronted with the identical resolution they made final week on Hurts however with out the posh of with the ability to recline in Week 19 if issues go flawed of their third try to safe the highest seat(s), which makes it fairly the shock. Nobody anticipated Hurts to take to the sphere within the finale in opposition to the New York Giants. If the Eagles had been okay, Hurts would have had practically a full month off earlier than watching recreation motion once more.
As an alternative, due to the Cowboys “taking no fuel weight,” linebacker Leighton Vander Esch mentioned Monday, Hurts might have to regulate how he approaches and performs the sport for the rest of the season to guard his shoulder.
For the aggressive cellular quarterback with the second-highest speeding tally on his staff, this issues vastly as a result of taking off and working the ball places him at risk of taking a success that might destroy the Eagles postseason.
And so far as throwing the ball, nicely let’s simply say it would not be nice if he needed to throw it greater than 40 instances to win the sport, together with the truth that he would possibly get further involved about strain within the pocket, it is actual or perceived, understanding that each one that It could take him one sack to get Mincio again on the sphere.
Sidebar: Under no circumstances can a form or kind be misconstrued as hope for damage, however merely an evaluation of the fact of the scenario the Cowboys have now put Hurts and the Eagles in.
He is not wholesome, and head coach Nick Siriani “believes” he’ll be “wholesome” to play in opposition to the Giants, phrases that inform us simply how uncomfortable and anxious the Eagles are heading right into a battle in opposition to New York the place Brian DaPaul has already introduced he will not relaxation any starters. Regardless of clinching the sixth seed within the NFC with their defeat of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
“No,” Daboll mentioned when requested if he would take into account waving the white flag in opposition to the Eagles.
It additionally needs to be mentioned that Daboll has loads of causes to attempt to whack the Eagles within the proverbial mouth, as a result of Philly humiliated him on his area with a 48-22 choke in Week 14 and there is a vengeance available at Lincoln Monetary Discipline this week.
Let’s add one other layer to this dialog, as a result of it is about Daboll’s understanding of the sport lengthy recreation for a Giants who’ve recorded 4 losses and a tie over their final eight video games (translation: they have not carried out something to deserve a relaxation however as an alternative want yet another high quality testing to regulate for the playoffs).
It is a indisputable fact that the Giants have to know what most do not: A defeat for the Eagles prevents them from getting a house benefit throughout the playoffs. If the Giants lie down on Sunday, they provide that to the Eagles and vastly enhance their possibilities of lifting a second Lombardi Trophy.
This isn’t a recreation of checkers, of us.
In the long run, the Giants do not have a seed to play for, however they do have vengeance and perception on their minds, and it is the Cowboys who’re giving them an opportunity to assist themselves and the Cowboys by defeating the Eagles on Sunday afternoon. It began with McCarthy’s refusal to let the pedal go an inch off the bottom, in a season that additionally noticed Dallas not undergo a single two-game shedding streak.
They’re getting into the finale in Washington on a two-game successful streak fueled by their understanding of all of the variables, and making it a three-game successful streak that, at worst, will give all of them the momentum they will completely want. Searching for to move into the playoffs.
At greatest, nicely, checkmate.