FRISCO - Earlier in this oddball NFC East season, Mike McCarthy made it clear that he's "not a gambler.'' That's different than being a "risk-taker'' - he's talking about actual gambling, with real money, on slot machines and whatnot.
Surely NFC East observers must feel the same way about an NFL division that, in terms of wins and losses, cannot get out of its own way. The ineptitude is such that we're having to ponder just how bad one of these teams is to avoid being bad enough to drop out of title contention.
As we enter Week 7, the the teams' .229 combined winning percentage is the second-poorest for any division through Week 6 since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Sitting atop the pile of slip are coach McCarthy's Cowboys - but at just 2-4.
Now, things are about to change. The Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1) play on Thursday, against the New York Giants (1-5). So the division is going to produce a win. (Unless it's another tie.)
And the Cowboys on Sunday are at Washington (1-5). So again, we are going to have a winner ... unless (that's right) this division produces another tie.
The Cowboys still harbor the in-house belief that they are worthy of winning this division. The defending-champ Eagles have every right to feel the same way. And given the gambler's roll of the dice, Washington and New York might as well keep grinding away, too.
Because ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) predicts there is a 28-percent chance that the NFC East winner will have six or fewer wins. Again, not pretty. The FPI ran 20,000 simulations and on 13 of those the division-winner ended up with four wins.
So, look on the bright side, Cowboys Nation, and gamblers, too ... at 2-4, Dallas might be halfway on its way to a championship!