NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: 5 Reasons Why They Are Pretenders

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5 Reasons Why The Dallas Cowboys Are Pretenders

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are now 6-5 and fresh off of a last second divisional victory on the road against the New York Giants. They piggy back that victory with a Thursday afternoon Thanksgiving trip back home to face the lowly Oakland Raiders.

All is good in Cowboy land, right? Wrong. It seems like every time things are looking up for the Cowboys fate steps in and intervenes. December does not treat this franchise well. They always seem to be in the running for the playoffs in the last crucial month of the regular season, but something inevitably goes wrong.

Whether it be the defense crumbling or Tony Romo throwing a crucial pick, the Cowboys are the polar opposite of clutch. At times they seem to play well early on in the season and get in a groove, but once reality hits in November and December they fold up their tent and go home.

I am not sure I see that changing this season. The Cowboys have already dealt with all sorts of problems this season. While Romo is having another solid year statistically you almost have to cringe when he steps up and gets the ball in the fourth quarter needing a crucial first down or points.

You can sense the interception coming. I have to give credit where it's due, though. Romo led a brilliant game winning drive to defeat the Giants and effectively end their season. I still would hedge my bets on this team. They are bound to break the hearts of Cowboys nation.

Let's take a look at 5 reasons why the Cowboys are pretenders.

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5. Tony Romo's Failure To Thrive In Big Moments

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo seems to put up huge numbers every year in terms of yards and touchdowns. That's all well and good, but there's one thing he hasn't seemed to figure out: The month of December. As the moment and stage get bigger Romo seems to shrink. The Cowboys' one playoff victory in the last decade and a half speaks volumes about Romo's inability to perform in crunch time. That's a major reason the Cowboys are pretenders.

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4. The Cowboys' Porous Defense

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys' defense has simply been atrocious this season. They give up an average of over 400 yards per game and are dead last in the defensive rankings. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is not doing a good job of getting this unit to play at a high level. Perhaps, letting Rob Ryan -- who is now thriving with the New Orleans Saints -- go was a big mistake.

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3. Dez Bryant's Unpredictable Behavior And Play

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant is as unpredictable a player as you will come across. When he's not catching passes he's yelling at teammates or throwing a fit. Bryant's play is also inconsistent. He had a crucial drop and also a huge fumble lost that almost cost the Cowboys the game last week. Bryant needs to clean this up. You just never know what you are getting out of the mercurial talent.

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2. The Cowboys' Leaky Offensive Line

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo has been on his back far too often. While Tyron Smith looks like an up and coming left tackle the rest of the line remains a question mark. The interior got beaten like a drum last week by Cullen Jenkins and has looked shaky all year.

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1. Jerry Jones' Dictatorial Mentality

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones just can't help himself. Frankly, he can't get out of his own way. Most team's owners cut the check and leave the football to the football people. Not Jones. He finds it necessary to comment on everything and at times feels more like the coach than Jason Garrett. This bizarre power structure and Jones' power over Garrett will be a major reason for the Cowboys' downfall and why they are a pretender this season.