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Cowboys primed for NFC East title fight

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Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson was the architect of the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty in the mid-1990s. His team celebrated two consecutive Super Bowl victories with Johnson at the helm. He joined "FOX NFL Sunday" in 2010. Follow him on Twitter.

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LET'S DO THIS

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I definitely expected the Cowboys to be in for a tight ball game in Washington. The Redskins were going to give a great effort, especially with their blitz package. But Dallas quarterback Tony Romo came through with another solid game, with three touchdown passes and no interceptions.

This is three straight games that he's played well. I believe the key for the Cowboys’ turnaround is that they now have some semblance of a running game with DeMarco Murray, who had 73 yards on 25 carries. The Cowboys also got Felix Jones back. This is all positive for the Cowboys.

Romo did get sacked four times but that was expected because of Washington's strong blitz ability. This was really important for the Cowboys to grab an NFC East win and on the road, too. This keeps Dallas right on schedule heading into that showdown game against the Giants on Dec. 11.

Well, Cowboys-Redskins games have traditionally been very close. A lot of times, rivalries in the NFL are overblown, but not in this particular case. The Redskins are going to give a great effort when they play the Cowboys. It was that way when I coached. Like I said, it’s a rivalry game and Washington wants to beat Dallas more than any other team in the league.

Now, would I cut Graham Gano for missing those two field goals and costing Washington an upset win? I think that’s iffy because those kicks were from 49 and 52 yards. That was a tough miss in overtime. He had the distance.

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I really think Dallas wins the next two against Miami and Arizona, setting up a big game against the Giants. Who knows, maybe New York loses one of the next two. It’s going to be a showdown between these teams for the NFC East title as they play twice in the last month of the season.

Miami is playing very well right now, which is good, because it will get Dallas' attention. The Dolphins are finally playing the type of great defense they did a year ago. They started off really poor in 2011, but defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has done a nice job getting them turned around.

Miami QB Matt Moore has had success in the past. He has mobility, experience and has kept the offense in every game.

Raider time

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With the way the schedule is set up, Oakland looks like the favorite now in the AFC West. You know the Chargers will continue to give an effort because they can score points. But the schedule doesn't favor them and they're now in too big of a hole. That was a bad loss today in Chicago; the fifth straight for San Diego.

Based on the last two games, that Carson Palmer trade has really worked out for the Raiders. He played a solid game against the Vikings and the Raiders do have a very good running game. Michael Bush is solid and they will be even better when Darren McFadden returns.

Well, Tim Tebow is a good story and I love watching his comebacks. But I don’t see him and the Broncos in the same class as the Raiders. But the way the Broncos played defense against the Jets on Thursday night is going to give them a shot in most ballgames. Denver’s defense has improved the last month. They made the right pick with Von Miller in the first round. He already has eight sacks.

Gobble, Gobble

Well, we are off to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day game and the Lions do have the weapons to give the Packers a fight. Anytime you have Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, you should be all right. Now, the Lions did hit a lull there when running back Jahvid Best went down with a concussion, but Kevin Smith gave them a big boost today against Carolina. He rushed for 140 yards on 16 carries and scored twice. Smith was out of football a month ago, but he knows the Detroit system.

The Lions need a running game and when Best initially went out, the offense struggled overall. The Lions had too many three-and-outs on offense. The other thing, defensively, the Lions have been erratic. But they have some talent on this team and they definitely play well at home in Ford Field.

The whole thing about Green Bay is that they gave up 455 yards to the Bucs, but I really believe there is no sense of urgency. They know how good their offense is. Now, I still believe their defense is capable. The only thing is they can get lulled to sleep sometimes. I mean, Tampa Bay came back on them and came close to really giving them a game. You just can’t turn it off and on like they do, but it’s working for them right now. Bottom line, I still don’t see a sense of urgency from that defense because Aaron Rodgers and that offense is so good.

I think we should have a good game on Thanksgiving. Because the Lions are at home, they will have a little more time to prepare and that gives them an edge. They don’t have to travel and they get to sleep at home. Plus, the Lions do have the ability to score points. They got 35 in the second half today against Carolina. I’m looking for an exciting game.

Tagged: Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Raiders, Dolphins, Redskins, Tim Tebow

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