Monday, December 21, 2009

Dallas keeps dream alive


DALLAS -- After a wild Saturday night in New Orleans, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys woke up yesterday with a whole new outlook on things.

Here's a short list of what beating the previously perfect Saints in the noisy Superdome means for them:

- Their season is far from a lost cause.

Instead of carrying a three-game losing streak and fading playoff chances into the last two games, the Cowboys are back in control.

Dallas (9-5) will win the NFC East and Jerry Jones will get to host at least one playoff game in his new stadium by following this difficult victory with wins at Washington and at home against Philadelphia.

- Their reputation as December choke artists could be erased.

Despite opening the month with back-to-back losses, the Cowboys can have a winning record in December/January for the first time since 1996 by winning their final two games.

Since winning out also would mean getting into the playoffs, that would give them a chance at their first playoff victory since '96.

- Their coach can hold off on hiring a moving van.

Wade Phillips is far from guaranteed of remaining the head coach in 2010, but his job is more secure, at least for one week.

Of course, if the Cowboys win the division and a playoff game, Jones would be a lot more likely to pick up the option for next year.

Whew! All that from just one game!

And all of it coming with the catch that they must keep winning to make this victory more than a one-night stand.

"We've got to come into the next game ready and focused," safety Ken Hamlin said.

"It's a big win, but it won't mean nothing if we lose the next one."