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Dublin: 20 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Brexit, the Dallas Cowboys, and your NFL week 10 preview

There are a lot of similarities between Britain and Dallas writes Steve O’Rourke.

Dak Prescott's Dallas Cowboys are not having the season they would have wanted.
Dak Prescott's Dallas Cowboys are not having the season they would have wanted.
Image: UPI/PA Images

IN 1939, ON the eve of World War II, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary that ‘civilisation has shrunk’. 

Woolf’s words were not just those of an author worried about the prospect of a Nazi invasion, but they also captured a wider fear that had been growing for decades in the UK; the decline of the British Empire.

For some in 21st century Britain, the decline of their empire has hit them so hard, they’ve reverted to 18th and 19th century politics and opinions in a bid to keep Albion alive.

But unlike other former imperial powers such as Spain or Portugal who, on the surface at least, have the decency to be embarrassed about their colonisation of other countries, there is a view in Britain that their tiny island on the edge of the Atlantic would be a global power if it was not for the EU.

Interestingly, this view is shared by the working class and millionaires alike, despite the latter ensuring all their key assets are moved offshore before the reality of Brexit hits home.

And while this ersatz nostalgia may be a Brexiter’s wet dream, it fails to take into account that the rest of the world has simply moved on from Elizabethan armadas. 

Another group of people surviving on the scraps of past glories are the Dallas Cowboys.

They came to the fore on Monday night when Titans safety Kevin Byard channeled his inner Terrell Owens and danced on the Dallas star. 

Byard had just intercepted Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott before continuing week nine’s series of tribute celebrations.

Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones was not happy and ran onto the field and pushed Byard and the rest of the Titans off the star.

After the game, Jones said “There’s no need for it. We’re all having fun, but I think when you go and try that, everyone knows what going on the star means. When you come into [AT&T Stadium], you don’t do that. It was about respecting the brand, respecting the star.”

If you happened to be on Twitter in the middle of the night, Dallas fans were discussing pretty much the same thing, albeit with more swearing.

But the thing Jones and the Cowboys fans missed is… what exactly is there to respect?

The Cowboys have made the playoffs just four times since 2000. They haven’t won a Super Bowl in 23 years and haven’t appeared in an NFC championship game in 20. In eight seasons under Jason Garrett their record is an uninspiring 70-57 and they have won their division just twice.

They are America’s Team in name only and, as Brexiters are about to learn, living on past glories will leave you incredibly unsatisfied.

Week 7 picks (season record 80-52-2)

Friday – 1.20am

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Panthers offence rivals that of the Chiefs and Rams as the most innovative in the NFL which means we’re finally getting to see the best of Christian McCaffrey. Despite winning four on the spin, the Steelers are flying under the radar. This should be one of the few fun Thursday night games.
Pick: Steelers

Sunday – 6pm

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
The Bears continued to take advantage of the soft part of their schedule with a facile victory over the Bills last week and they get another gimme this week against a Lions team that gave up 10 sacks last week.
Pick: Bears

New Orleans Saints @ Cincinnati Bengals 
The Saints took care of the last undefeated team in the NFL in week nine and are, perhaps, the most well-rounded team in the league. The Bengals struggled with the Bucs before their bye week and even home advantage might not be enough this weekend.
Pick: Saints

Atlanta Falcons @ Cleveland Browns
Another team slipping under the radar are the Atlanta Falcons. Their offence is finally clicking into gear but there are still a number of questions about their defence. Luckily for them, the Browns under Gregg Williams are not in a position to ask them.
Pick: Falcons

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
A divisional battle between two teams having different seasons than they would have imagined back in September. Both sit at 3-5 but Indy have won their past two while the Jags, who stick with Blake Bortles, are on a four game losing skid.
Pick: Colts

Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs
The worst team in the NFC travel to take on, arguably, the best of the AFC. Bouncing Sam Bradford shows that Arizona is already thinking about next season but few rebuilding projects are as daunting as the one facing the Cardinals.
Pick: Chiefs

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
I mean, does anyone really care about this game?
Pick: Jets

Washington @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have decided to stay with Ryan Fitzpatrick and, as we saw in the second half against the Panthers last week, he knows how to find the end zone. If only Tampa’s coaches could make in-game adjustments as well as they do at the half.
Pick: Buccaneers

New England Patriots @ Tennessee Titans
Fresh off Sunday night victory over the Packers, the Patriots travel to Tennessee to take on New England legend Mike Vrabel. The Titans surprised many with their win over the Cowboys on Monday but are unlikely to come away from this one with a W.
Pick: Patriots

Sunday – 9.05pm

LA Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
After years of threatening to end their Super Bowl hoodoo, the Chargers do look like legitimate contenders this year. They should make light work of an awful Raiders team this weekend.
Pick: Chargers

Sunday – 9.25pm

Miami Dolphins @ Green Bay Packers
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that time is running out for Mike McCarthy in Wisconsin and you’d have to wonder how much his conservative play-calling has affected Aaron Rodgers’ Super Bowl window. However, the Dolphins are unlikely to live with them in this one.
Pick: Packers

Seattle Seahawks @ LA Rams
After impressing for a lot of the season, the Seahawks will be disappointed with last week’s loss to the Chargers, especially at home. It doesn’t get much easier this week as they face LA’s other team who will be licking their own wounds following a first defeat of the season.
Pick: Rams

Monday – 1.20am 

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
This might be the best defensive unit of Jason Garrett’s time in Dallas but his inability to get any sort of consistency out of his offence will surely cost him his job. For the Eagles, the chance to bury their divisional rivals’ season and steal a march on Washington is plenty of motivation.
Pick: Eagles

Tuesday – 1.15am 

New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
Two teams that are exactly what we thought they’d be when the season started. Why NFC East teams continue to dominate prime time football will forever remain a mystery while the division remains so mediocre.
Pick: 49ers

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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