Dallas Cowboys will have to earn trip to Super Bowl

To play for the Lombardi Trophy, the Dallas Cowboys will have to face a who’s who of opposing quarterbacks with experience in the big game.

For all of those tasked with the responsibility of downplaying the Dallas Cowboys 13-3 performance, there was a common refrain.

The biggest negative about the 2016 Dallas Cowboys comes when dissecting their competition.  Some minimize the team’s accomplishments by indicating that they did not play top tier competition.

The path to the number one seed in the NFC might as well have been a golden brick road.

While there is some truth to that, it’s largely a silly argument.

For one, it’s not like the Cowboys pick and choose, week to week, who they want to play.  Another reason it is ridiculous is because they did play many quality teams.

The Dallas Cowboys had five games against teams who are in the playoffs.  They had another four games against teams who were eliminated by one game.  Their record in those games was 7-2.

By comparison, the New England Patriots had the same number of games against playoff teams as Dallas did.  You don’t hear anyone questioning their road to the top spot, now do you?

No matter all of that noise, now that it’s playoff time, the Dallas Cowboys will have to run a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in order to earn their sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Wild Card Weekend in the NFC features quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Eli ManningRussell Wilson and Matthew Stafford.  The only one Dallas has no chance of facing is Wilson, unless the Seahawks make it to the NFC Championship game.

That means the first playoff game for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will almost certainly be against a former Super Bowl champion.  If not, then the Cowboys will face the youngest quarterback to ever throw for 30,000+ yards.

Beyond that, the Cowboys prize for getting over that hurdle is one of two options.  Door number one has Wilson and the league’s best defense over the past five years.  Door number two is one of the potent offenses led by the likely MVP in quarterback Matt Ryan.

It sure is a good thing that the defense will be getting back some key players like Morris Claiborne at cornerback, Justin Durant at linebacker and reinforcements along the line.

The Cowboys philosophy of a strong run game protecting the defense will be tested as well.  The Giants, Seahawks and Packers all feature top ten run defenses.  It will not be shocking if they have to play two of those three teams.

All year long, the Dallas Cowboys have overcome setbacks and proven naysayers to be wrong.  The 2016 NFL playoffs will surely be the ultimate test for this team.  If they can pass the test, the biggest prize in the game awaits them.

It will not be easy but then again, nothing worth it ever is.

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