But I will say this and really mean it. It’s not just a festive Happy Thanksgiving, everyone has a turkey leg:
This win was better for the Cowboys than last Sunday in Minnesota.
Yes, I really believe in that. Not for the masses, and certainly not for the bettors (oh, on that back cover), but for the very big picture. Like, a picture that extends into 2023 and maybe as deep as January. This is the kind of win that could carry the Cowboys into the postseason.
To win the playoffs, you have to grind. You have to fight. And more than anything else, you have to adapt, especially when things don’t go as planned. This is perhaps the best part of the Cowboys’ victory here on Thanksgiving Day against the Giants, which also ended a three-game losing streak this holiday.
But it looked like four straight losses were in the cards, especially when the Giants grabbed a 13-7 halftime lead. Of course, this is certainly not impossible, and in fact, the Cowboys would win the game the next time New York had the ball.
It happened, though, because the Cowboys got out there and started to adapt quickly. That’s what halftime is, especially on Thanksgiving. So while the Jonas Brothers were hopping around on stage, the Cowboys were making some changes on both sides of the ball.
For the offense, the biggest change was the risk reduction. They spin the ball twice and then do another down spin. In the second half, Dak Prescott and the offense took better care of the ball, but they also attacked the sidelines a lot. Passes to CeeDee Lamb and even to Dalton Schultz were high and out. Not good for the strike zone, but really good for receivers who can get involved in the play.
On defense, they pinch them inwards more against runs, and we know what that does — it allows pass tacklers to eat, especially that “Lionbacker” named Micah Parsons. He picked up two more sacks in the second half, and when he plays, he sends a jolt to the rest of the defense and possibly the entire team.
You can call these adjustments, or maybe you just don’t make mistakes with your second half. Either way, the Cowboys figured out how to win the game. And if you go back to Week 3 in Meadowlands, that’s basically what happened in that game. The Giants took a 13-6 lead in the third quarter before the Cooper Rush got up and went on offense and the Cowboys ended up winning by a touchdown.
This time, they won by eight and had to take an onside kick at the end to secure the win. But make no mistake, the Cowboys were the better team and they showed it in the end.
This is what should happen in the playoffs. We’ve seen it many times where the “best team” just messes around to get the game started and you can’t always stack up that way in the playoffs against good teams.
That’s why I think this win was impressive in its own way. A week short, coming off a high peak, facing a troubled team and a team you’ve already beaten. But somehow, they figure out how to get the job done and move on.
In my book, that’s more important than beating the Vikings by 37 points.
Either way, they calculate the same. It’s just like a boxer. Some fights will be first-round knockouts; Others will go the full 12 rounds and you’ll have to go to the judging panel. But no matter how you play it, it’s important to show that you can play it either way.
On this day, the cowboys needed to dig a little deeper. It may not have been very pretty, but it was “pretty much” what they would see in the playoffs.