The Cowboys keep finding a way. That’s why they’re Super Bowl contenders.

In general, I am not a superstitious man. I do not avoid stepping on cracks, I purposely broke mirrors and walked under several ladders. But when I watch the Cowboys, it’s like I have some kind of sports superstition.

If they have a few back-to-back workouts that end with punters, I’m going to change chairs. If they have a couple of losses in a row, I will think about watching the game in a new location, in another room, or even in another house. If they win while our family dog ​​is wearing a new Cowboys shirt, she will be wearing the same shirt again next week. Both of those things happened on Sunday, which means Marshmallow will be spending next Sunday afternoon wearing the same blue and silver shirt. What I come closest to in prayer is when I watch the Cowboys play. And part of that superstition extends to the things I don’t want to say – even though I mean them – as if once those words are out in the open they might somehow undermine anything that’s yet to happen.

But there you go: the Cowboys, now six-game winners, are Super Bowl contenders. That’s the main thing my athletic superstition kept me from saying out loud, although I’ve felt it since the Cowboys beat the Giants in Week 5. I stayed silent because it was. too soon and I knew I would be ridiculed for that thought, and because, well, having low expectations and being overly pessimistic is my defense mechanism when it comes to the Cowboys. But that last game – winning on the road, against the Vikings, without Dak Prescott – was both proof of their quality and a microcosm of the season.

Although Dak says he could have played on Sunday night, the Cowboys now have a four-game lead in the NFC East losing column, which presumably played a role in the decision to put him down for another week. The coaches (and owner?) Bet Cooper Rush was good enough to quarterback the team for a win against a not-so-good Viking team, and the bet paid off. The game continued the trend that has been there all season. This team has not been without injuries. They lost key starters in key positions – defensive end, wide receiver, tackle and now quarterback – and while playing their substitutes, the team continued to win.

After DeMarcus Lawrence, the team’s best defensive player for the past four years, broke his foot, the pass rush was effective as Randy Gregory began to exploit his potential and Micah Parsons became a rookie. star. When La’el Collins was suspended Terence Steele played so well he might not be back on the bench anytime soon. When Michael Gallup strained his calf, Cedrick Wilson stepped in and had such an impact that the Cowboys don’t need to sign Gallup again. And, of course, when Dak missed the game, it was easy to assume, as I did, that the Cowboys would also miss Andy Dalton, last year’s proven substitute.

Sure enough, led 10-3 in the first half against the Vikings, with Rush throwing a bad interception, it looked like they would. Then Rush played better as the game progressed and the Cowboys won.

That’s the problem with Super Bowl teams: They keep winning even when things don’t go perfectly for them. They win games, ugly games, that they maybe should have lost. Win games when all of their top players aren’t around. And once or twice during the season, they’ll beat a team that punters thought they would lose to, like the Vikings.

Once the Cowboys announced that Dak was not playing on Sunday night, they went from a favorite to “big outsiders. “Replacing your quarterback MVP candidate with a player making his first NFL start will do it. So maybe the Cowboys should have lost. If they had, it wouldn’t have been unexpected, and it did. certainly wouldn’t have exposed them as frauds. They would have lost because their most important player and undisputed leader was not there. You could even have blamed the narrow loss on a handful of bad calls, like the dubious series of penalties. 15 yards at the end of the fourth.

But they won. It was one of those games where you can go through a roster of about eight games – Cedric Wilson’s long touchdown after half-time, the deflected pass caught by Tyler Biadasz that turned a possible incompletion into a win. 7 yards – which, had they not happened, the result could have been different.

They won because although the defense immediately gave up seven points in the first practice, they readjusted to keep the Vikings just nine more points the rest of the game. It was the first game the defense didn’t force any turnovers, Trevon Diggs’ interception streak ended, but they played well. Micah Parsons was all over the field.

They won because even though they only had 78 rushing yards overall, the Cowboys kept running and Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard played. It was Zeke who, in perhaps the most important play of the game, when it looked like the Cowboys were content with an even basket, caught a pass, broke three tackles and carried another defenseman for 4 yards. to get a first try. . Two plays later, Rush threw the winning touchdown at Amari Cooper, who moments before was sitting on the sidelines, working her hamstrings with a roller skate.

And they win because the players who filled in this year have each stepped up in their own way, from Gregory scoring a sack on Wilson’s touchdown and moving from backfield to Steele maintaining his right tackle point well enough to keep Collins off the line- up starting for at least a week at, of course, rush. Super Bowl winners aren’t necessarily the luckiest teams, but the ones who can find answers and workarounds if something goes wrong.

It’s the Cowboys this season, and Sunday night was just the latest example. We’re not halfway there yet, but right now the Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders. I’m not sure they aren’t the best team in the league. And until they lose back-to-back games, I’ll be sitting in the same chair, and Marshmallow will be wearing his Cowboys shirt when they play.

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