Cowboys Playoff Hopes are Still Alive. Spoiler Alert: “Play in Game” Ahead

At 8-4 and 2-2 in the division, could Dallas still win their division?
Yes it’s possible (so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance!) but with a 3-0 division record including a win over Dallas, the NFC East will be for the Eagles to lose. While Dallas could win the division with lots of help, I don’t look for it to happen as I consider them currently playing in the wildcard pool for the rest of the season.

Wilcard Picture
The NFC has two wildcard spots available and I look for one of them to go to the NFC North in either the Lions or Packers. I believe the Packers are likely to win that division and then I look for the Lions to take the first wildcard spot. With games remaining against the Bucs, Vikings and Bears, I look for the (8-4) Lions to finish with 11 wins. (Assuming they lose their next meeting with the Packers.)

That would leave the 49ers, Seahawks and Cowboys in a battle for that final wildcard position.

Tie Breakers:
If the Cowboys end the season tied with the Seahawks, the Cowboys would get the wildcard spot because of their win in Seattle. However if they end the season tied with the 49ers, the 49ers would have the edge because of a win over Dallas in week one. Seattle defeating the 49ers on Thanksgiving night, helped the Cowboys chances in my view.

A Look at the three team race:
Seahawks: Remaining schedule has them playing Eagles, 49ers, Cardinals and Rams. That’s not an easy schedule but I think the 8-4 Seahawks can win their two home games (49ers and Rams) to finish with 10 wins.

49ers remaining schedule has them playing Raiders, Seahawks, Chargers and Cardinals. I think the 7-5 49ers will win 2 of those games (Raiders and Chargers) which means they would end the season with 9 wins.

Cowboys remaining schedule has them playing Bears, Eagles, Colts and Redskins. So far Dallas has been undefeated on the road, which actually makes me like their chances of winning at the Bears and at Redskins. That means they would finish with 10 wins potentially in a tie with the Seahawks who they happen to hold the tie breaker over. That win in Seattle could pay off big for Dallas eventually.

Bottom Line: To make the post season, I think Dallas will need to win at least two of their final four games. Winning three would almost guarantee a spot in the post season while just winning one would almost guarantee them missing. If they get 10 wins, their win earlier against the Seahawks may come into play.

Another dreaded “play in” game in their future?
Yes I think so. While they haven’t gone the Cowboys way in recent history, I can easily picture that final game with the Redskins as a potential “win or season over” game for Dallas where they will need to win it to make the post season. There will likely be nothing at stake for the 3-8 Redskins except an opportunity to end the Cowboys season which they would enjoy and will try very hard to do.

Buckle up the NFL is going to be an interesting ride the next 4 weeks.