Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/23/12
ARLINGTON, Texas The Cowboys no longer control their own destiny. With a 34-31 overtime loss Sunday to the New Orleans Saints, the Cowboys need help to reach the playoffs. Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys falling to 8-7, a game back of Washington for the NFC East lead, with one game remaining. 1.) Jason Garrett's bunch has become Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles fans. One of those teams needs to defeat the New York Giants to give the Cowboys a playoff shot with a win next Sunday in Washington. The Cowboys need to win the division to reach the postseason. They can't do that now without a Giants loss. But even that might not be enough. With the way the Redskins are playing, winning their last six in a row, the Cowboys will have no chance without an effective running game. The Saints held the Cowboys to 40 yards on the ground. That won't get it done. 2.) Yes, the Cowboys allowed 34 points Sunday and that's rarely going to earn a victory. But take a step back before putting too much blame on Rob Ryan and the defense. Despite the underachieving year the Saints have had, their offense is still elite. The Cowboys defense is obviously not elite. But there's only so much you can do with the patchwork group they've been putting on the field. Five starters (Jay Ratliff, Kenyon Coleman, Bruce Carter, Sean Lee and Barry Church) and several key reserves were missing. To make things worse, Ernie Sims, Alex Albright and DeMarcus Ware all exited with injuries Sunday. The inside linebacking corps was left with only Brady Poppinga and Dan Connor. Frankly, I'm surprised they hung in there the way they did. 3.) Earlier this week, Tony Romo said: "I believe when I step on the field in the fourth quarter, if we're within 10-14 points, we're going to find a way to win the ballgame." The Cowboys were within seven entering the fourth quarter and went down 14 before Romo rallied the troops. Romo is in a good place right now. That gives the Cowboys a chance in any game. It should be entertaining to see how things unfold next weekend. 4.) Regardless of whether the Cowboys make the playoffs or not, Dez Bryant has given the team hope for the future and cracked open Jerry Jones' window just a little bit. Bryant wasn't as much of a factor in the second half but his second-quarter presence is one of the biggest reasons why the Cowboys were within a 17-14 halftime score. Bryant tied the franchise record by recording a touchdown pass in his seventh consecutive game. He then added another score seven minutes later, his 12th touchdown of the season. Despite a fractured left index finger, the 24-year-old managed to record his best statistical game of his career. As long as Bryant stays out of trouble off the field, he has a chance to carry the Cowboys offense. 5.) It's easy to say the running game wasn't working after DeMarco Murray fumbled in the second half, leading to a 24-17 Saints advantage late in the third quarter. But I'd like to see more of Murray in the first half against Washington. The Cowboys need to keep Robert Griffin III on the bench and running clock with Murray is their best option. He only carried four times in the first half against the Saints. Murray was injured and did not play when the Cowboys lost to the Redskins, 38-31, on Thanksgiving Day.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker