NFL: The Cowboys bring more than just a big name to London
The Dallas Cowboys are coming to London, and this year, they are far more than just a big name. The Cowboys have been the brunt of many jokes over the past few seasons, as the richest team in football suffered disappointment after disappointment from the hands of a seemingly inept Tony Romo, a quarterback who many believe is simply not good enough to be the poster-boy of arguably the NFL’s most famous franchise. This season, the story could not be more different. Eyebrows have been raised everywhere as the Cowboys have stormed to a 6-3 record. Doubters were well and truly silenced in week 6 as the Cowboys put the defending Super Bowl champs to the sword, and it seems like they have the players to have a decent shot at the Super Bowl themselves this season, as long as owner Jerry Jones and his infamous ego avoid throwing a spanner in the well-functioning Cowboys’ works…
Philadelphia Eagles -189
Dallas Cowboys +160
New York Giants +2000
(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)
The key to their dramatic turnaround in fortunes is an offense that poses a far more dynamic threat. Running back DeMarco Murray has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven consecutive games, an NFL record that will put him well in the hunt for the MVP award come the end of the season. Whilst Murray has undoubtedly been the highlight, this is also a team with the incredibly talented Dez Bryant at wide receiver, and rock-solid tight end Jason Witten. It has taken seven weeks for any team to figure out how to stop this offensive machine, and this has coincided an injury to Tony Romo, who may well have a greater effect on the team than his many doubters might like to think. With his return imminent for the Wembley showdown, this game may provide the perfect platform for the Cowboys to showcase their talent and lay a marker down to their NFC East rivals at 7-3.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have raised few eyebrows too, but this has been due to their incredibly poor start rather than Superbowl potential. Every season has a team or two that is already looking to the new season at the halfway mark, and the Jaguars are now in that category. They now sit at 1-8 and have been fairly shambolic throughout this season. Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles and leading receiver Allen Robinson were only drafted last year, so their poor season can probably be attributed to the fact that this team has no proven NFL performers.
It could be argued that they have been slightly unlucky not to win a game though, and it’s fair to say they haven’t had the easiest schedule either. The Jaguars also have the added incentive of a will to establish a support in England. They have signed a deal to play one game in England every year until 2016, and will be keen to make an impression in what could be considered their second home. Their season may already be a write-off, but a lot is at stake in this fixture, so don’t totally rule them out.
With the tower of statistical and tactical evidence pointing to a Cowboys rout, it would be foolish to back anything but a Dallas victory here. Simply put, one team is producing the goods, and one team is not. However, with the added incentive for Jacksonville to perform well, and the fact the Cowboys are on a losing streak of two coming into the game, it may not be the rout many will be predicting….
SCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist from the UK with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and Baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo