Do Cowboys Have a Realistic Shot at Making the Playoffs?

OK the Cowboys managed to pull out a game against a depleted Eagles team that has a lame duck coach, to go to a record of 6-6. They have not been mathematically eliminated from making the post season yet but just how realistic are their chances?

Even the over optimistic owner, Jerry Jones, is starting to talk like the chances are slim by stating,

“I’m real hopeful, I’m very hopeful, but I’m realistic,” Jones said. “I’m proud of the team, but we really have to call on everybody and everything to do everything, whether it’s a coach or a player, we have to do everything we can do to get these next four ballgames.”

Jerry usually isn’t very realistic so I interpret this quote as Jerry saying, “stick a fork in them Cowboys”.

This is the guy who thought the Cowboys were “Super Bowl ready” at the end of last season so to hear him back pedal and concede it’s a long shot to make the playoffs, indicates that it doesn’t look good at all.


Currently the Seahawks (7-5) and the Bears (8-4) are sitting in a good position to earn the wildcard spots. Both the Bears and Seahawks defeated Dallas head to head this year so they have the edge if Dallas should tie their records. That means Dallas would have to finish with a better record than these two teams and that just isn’t likely to happen.

Bears win 10- Looking at the remaining schedule, the Bears are likely to finish with at least 10 wins. They have games with the Vikings, Packers, Cardinals and Lions. Perhaps their only loss will be to the Packers.

Seahawks win 10– Looking at the remaining schedule, the Seahawks are likely to finish with at least 10 wins. Three of their games are in Seattle where they have not lost this season. They play the Cardinals, Bills, 49ers and Rams. Perhaps their only loss will be the 49ers.

If Dallas runs the table, (and that would be stunning) they would have 10 wins but their losses to these two teams would eliminate them.


Currently the Giants (7-4) lead the division and the Cowboys split with the Giants in two games this season. So if Dallas tied the Giants record then it would come down to other tie breakers. Don’t count the Redskins out of it yet either. But for now, let’s focus on the lead horse Giants.

The Giants play the Redskins Monday night then they play Saints, @ Atlanta, @ Baltimore, and the pathetic Eagles. I actually like the Giants chances to lose when playing at Baltimore and at Atlanta. However they will beat the Eagles and I think they beat the Saints at home too.

Giants win 10– So let’s assume the Giants lose at Atlanta and Baltimore but win their other 3 games. They would finish with 10 wins.

Tie breakers?  LINK  to NFL tie breakers

If Dallas ran the table (about as likely as a snow blizzard in hell) they and the Giants just might be tied with 10 wins. Since they split head to head games the next tie breaker is:

Division record– At this point most likely both teams would be 4-2 in the division. Next tie breaker please…

Win percentage in common games– Next tie breaker is common games. Since their division games would be equal then we would have to look at non division common opponents which are: Tampa, Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore.

In a 10 win scenario for Giants and Dallas the Cowboys would have a record of 6-2 (assuming wins against Bengals, Saints and Steelers).

The Giants would have a record of 4-4 (assuming losses to Saints, Ravens, and Falcons) against the common non division opponents which would make the Cowboys division champs.

In conclusion, yes Dallas has a chance to make the playoffs but they need to run the table in their remaining games and also get help.

This is where the reality Jerry speaks of comes in.

  • Dallas has struggled this season to win back to back games so now can they win four in a row? Don’t count on it.
  • The Cowboys struggled to beat an Eagles team that came in without key players and a 7 game losing streak. The Bengals, Saints, Steelers and Redskins are all in the hunt for the playoffs too and will be tough opponents for Dallas to beat.
  • Injuries have been a big problem for Dallas on defense particularly in the front 7. They are starting guys now that were watching football on the couch not long ago.

If you are a “glass half full” guy you think Dallas can pull it off and win their remaining games. “It ain’t over!”

If you are a “glass half empty” guy then you are already looking at Mel Kiper’s rankings of prospects for the 2013 draft and reading which NFL coaches are available for hire.

I think the glass is lacking the kind of players Dallas would need to run the table due to injuries and poor management from the GM. While I acknowledge it can happen, my odds were probably better to win that half billion power ball last week and that didn’t happen either!