Despite the current angst in Dallas over team performance and the job security of the head coach, the Cowboys are still on top of the NFC East and have solid odds for making the playoffs. How will the Week 13 games affect their postseason positioning?
The Cowboys are not officially eliminated from a Wild Card spot but it’s not looking pretty. They are three games behind both Seattle and Minnesota right now (Vikings have a head-to-head tiebreaker) with only five more to go. Making up that ground is highly improbable.
Dallas has one reasonable route to the playoffs now by winning the division. If they can outlast the Philadelphia Eagles then all of this other talk about the Cowboys’ problems won’t stop them from playing football in January.
If the season ended today, these would be your NFC playoff standings:
- San Francisco 49ers (10-1)
- New Orleans Saints (9-2)
- Green Bay Packers (8-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
- Seattle Seahawks (9-2)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
- Los Angeles Rams (6-5)
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
- The Packers are ahead of the Vikings in the NFC North based on a head-to-head tiebreaker.from Week 2. They play each other again in Week 16.
This weekly feature will focus on teams who are clear contenders in division or wild card races. We will adjust what teams are discussed as needed depending on shifts in the standings and if anyone currently unmentioned go on a late-season run.
The Eagles are here solely because of their potential to still win the NFC East. Other 5-6 teams like the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers are too far behind in both their divisions and in the Wild Card race to merit discussion.
Here are this week’s games involving the current NFC playoff contenders:
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys need this one badly, but the short week and home-field advantage from annual Thanksgiving games haven’t helped Dallas much over the years. They are 5-5 in the last 10 games played on the holiday; 4-5 since Jason Garrett became head coach.
The Bills come in with an 8-3 record but the same disparity as the Cowboys in how they’ve performed against good and bad teams. Buffalo has padded its record with victories over cupcakes, only having one victory against a winning team in the Tennessee Titans.
Still, that’s one more than Dallas has. The Cowboys have come up short in every contest against a team with a winning record. If that trend continues tomorrow, we could see some major upheavals throughout the organization.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Miami Dolphins
The Eagles are suffering as much as the Cowboys right now but get a great chance to improve things in Miami. It’s still a road game and Philly is still short on receiving talent, but the Dolphins are about as bad as it gets right now in the NFL.
If the Cowboys can handle their business tomorrow, a loss by the Eagles this week would be devastating. There are already sighs of locker room turmoil and dropping this game would push things even further into dysfunction.
Sounds great to me!
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
The Saints jumped into the NFC’s top two spots this week following Green Bay’s loss to the 49ers. They suffered a stunning upset loss to the Falcons a few weeks ago, but I would expect them to come back with a vengeance in this one.
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
Another team out for blood will be the aforementioned Packers, and they get a great opponent to beat up on in the Giants. With the Vikings hot on their heels in the NFC North, Green Bay will not take New York lightly. Expect a blowout as the Pack continues their playoff push.
San Francisco 49ers @ Baltimore Ravens
This is going to be a fun one! San Francisco had has a stunning run in 2019 but are about run unto Lamar Jackson and the equally exciting Ravens. A loss would pull the Niners even with the Saints in overall record and make for added intrigue in the coming weeks.
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
The Rams are just hanging on at this point and barely worth talking about, but a win here keeps them at 7-5 and on the playoff radar. They will need a pretty big collapse from one of the Wild Card teams at this point to make the tournament.
Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks
Another huge game with major playoff implications, both Minnesota and Seattle are in tight division races and current slotted as the NFC wild cards. It’s a tough pick between this one and 49ers-Ravens for the game of the week.