On Thursday, January 21, 2010, the long-anticipated announcement of a contract extension of Cowboys coach Wade Philips finally arrived, but in actuality, Wade was given a one year contract extension through the 2011 season. Wade was already signed up for the 2010 season, so an added year is hardly a glowing endorsement, despite the Cowboys first playoff win in 14 years.
Sure, in fairness to Wade, he was deserving of a contract extension after leading the Cowboys to two NFC East titles (2007 and 2009) as well as a regular season record of 33-15 over the past three seasons. But, as scary as Dallas’ front seven played down the stretch this year, questions loom about Wade’s team in terms of their focus and mental toughness. And no, Tony Romo’s successful 2009 December run does not forgive his dismal performance on the road against the Vikings last weekend. At the end of the day, do you see Wade Philips hoisting the Lombardi trophy in 2010? I do not.
How does this effect the G-men? I think positively, actually. The NFC East will again be a battle ground next season, with the right moves, the G-men should again be vying for the divisional title and a playoff berth (if not, I predict Coach Coughlin’s run in blue ends). How the Giants address off-season issues (legitimate questions exist on both sides of the trenches, at middle linebacker, and in the secondary, not to mention what can the Giants expect from Brandon Jacobs in 2010, if he even remains on the roster in the uncapped year) will determine the success of this team for the near future. The window of opportunity in the NFL is short, the Giants have a franchise quarterback right now, and the onus is on Jerry Reese this off-season, an off-season which is the most critical Giants off-season since 2004, when the Giants traded for Eli Manning.
Prediction for the weekend:
I am taking the Colts over the Jets and the Saints over the Vikings. Caveat: If the Jets can run the ball effectively and keep the ball out of Peyton Manning’s hands, then they have a good shot at advancing to the dance, but ultimately, I can’t bet against Peyton Manning at home and I think the Colts speed on defense will give Mark Sanchez fits. Give me the Colts.
In New Orleans, I do not believe that the Vikings, a team which has struggled on the road all season long, and has not run the ball effectively (Adrian Peterson, where have you gone? Interesting fact: Peterson has not had a 100 yard rushing game in the last 8 contests), can go into the Superdome and beat the high-powered Saints. Caveat: The Vikings will win if Jared Allen and Ray Edwards create havoc off the edges, following the Cowboys blue-print from December, but, I would expect to see a heavy dose of Reggie Bush catching passes in the flat to help counter-act the pass rush of the Vikes. Give me the Saints in this one.