Thursday, November 18, 2010

Intensity and Focus Are the Keys to Starting a Winning Streak

Last week was the easy game for the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe not in terms of the opponent but definitely in terms of the motivation to play. The Cowboys had a new coach to play for. They had the world against them. And they had to find a way to show they had a little pride after being humiliated by the Green Bay Packers in a prime time game.

This week is different. The Lions are coming to town with their 2-7 record. For some reason the Cowboys are suddenly seen as overwhelming favorites in the game. And the players have a renewed sense of confidence about them.

We saw this same scenario play out earlier in the season when the Cowboys pulled themselves together long enough to go embarrass the Houston Texans in their home stadium. But that was the beginning of the end of the Wade Phillips era. After that game the Cowboys proceeded to lose 5 straight games and get progressively worse with each passing week.

Can Jason Garrett keep the Cowboys grounded and focused heading into this game? That is probably the most important question about the game. Forget about the X's and O's for a second. If the players are confident, intense and focused the X's and O's will be taken care of. How does Jason Garrett prevent his players from walking into this game overconfident?

You would hope that the Cowboys aren't overconfident since they really have no reason to be. They have the same record as the Detroit Lions, 2-7. And they should be reminded of that. And the Lions are 2-7 but they have played nearly every game down to the wire. And the Lions have a lot of individual talent on their roster. Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Ndamukong Suh, and Kyle Vanden Bosch are all top tier players.

I believe the embarrassment of this season combined with the renewed focus that Jason Garrett is demanding from his team is going to make the difference. I have been burned so many times by the Cowboys this year it is hard to pick them to win a game with any conviction. But the irrational fan in me wants to believe in Jason Garrett. I am picking the Cowboys to win the game easily 28-13.

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