You all saw last night’s game, and after it, our favorite team is 5-6 after their loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. It is not the end of the world, but there is one problem. Making it to the playoffs will be a lot harder than everyone thought, including Cowboys. The next thing they have to do to make it is to win their next five games in order to achieve that 10-6. After a glance at the schedule, it seems that it will not be that difficult, except one thing. We will have to pray that the teams they are competing against lose just enough games to help the Cowboys make it in.
Here is a short breakdown of what exactly has to happen for the Cowboys to make it to the playoffs:
– First thing’s first, the Atlanta Falcons need to lose three of their final six games. This just might happen since the Falcons are up against the New Orleans Saints (8-2), Carolina Panthers (7-3) and Minnesota Vikings (9-2). The Falcons already hold the tiebreaker thanks to that head-to-head win, which means that if Cowboys end 10-6, the Falcons will have to be 9-6-1 or worse.
– Next up are the Seattle Seahawks. These guys have to lose only 2 out of their final six games, but what is interesting is that one of those matches will have to be against Cowboys. That makes things much easier because this means that Seahawks have to lose only one non-Cowboys game. If they both end up with a 10-6, Dallas will make it through since they will have the tiebreaker over them (when they beat them of course). The other side of the coin might bring the Seahawks to 11-5, which means that they won all the duels except the one against Cowboys.
– The Detroit Lions. This squad will have to lose only one match of the six they have till the end of the regular season, and it will have to be in-conference (otherwise it will take two games of any kind). Both Cowboys and Lions are tied with four conference losses, the applicable tiebreaker as they did not play head-to-head. The option where Cowboys end up with 10-6 will mean that they didn’t lose in the conference and if the Lions also end up with 10-6 t, and with a lost game in the conference then they will lose the tiebreaker. Detroit has three conference games left, against the Buccaneers, Bears and Packers, but the problem for them is the fact that Packers may have Aaron Rodgers back for that clash.
– The Green Bay Packers also have to lose only 2 out of their six next games. Since these guys already beat the Cowboys in head-to-head, the only way the America’s Team can pass them is with a superior record, nothing else. The Packers, thankfully have Brett Hundley as a quarterback and they still have to play the Steelers, Vikings, Panthers and Lions, which makes things easier for our team since they will likely lose two more games.
– The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to lose one of their final six duels, which is a very likely scenario mainly because a six-game winning streaks are pretty rare.
– The Philadelphia Eagles need to get the NFC’s No. 1 seed before Week 17. This, of course, is not that necessary but it will make it a little easier for Cowboys because the Eagles might bench their starters against them in the final game. If they don’t do that, frankly speaking, the squad from Philly will be a little too much for the Cowboys.
All of these scenarios that you read are creating space for Cowboys to make it to the playoffs. Yes, some of them might be a little far-fetched, but everything is possible if you wish it enough. Have in mind that all these scenarios might change if only one of the five teams, we assume, will make it (the Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Rams and Panthers) loses one or two games before the end of the season. If for example, the Seahawks win the NFC West over the Rams it will put the Cowboys in a bad situation since the Rams hold a tiebreaker over the Dallas. On the other hand, for example, if the Panthers start a losing streak and give up the NFC South’s presumed second spot to the Falcons, then Cowboys achieve a huge win. Why? Well, the fact is that the Panthers don’t have a head-to-head win over the Cowboys, and all three of their losses have come in-conference.
All of this we presumed will hold together only if there are no three-way ties which could mess all things up beyond repair. It is way too early, and a way to difficult to predict what will happen to Cowboys under that scenario, but same rules from above would probably apply – head-to-head tiebreakers first, conference record being second, and if it reaches the third stage of tiebreakers, that is record against common opponents. So as of now, there is a lot of hoping and praying. Sadly nothing of this we said can be controlled except one thing – the Cowboys’ own performance. They need to suck it up, give their best and gun straight for that 10-6 with the hope that one of the teams above will make a mistake. If they do not make it, a 10-6 is nothing to be ashamed of especially when we all consider (objectively) all the things that happened to them this season.