The Dallas Cowboys got a playoff boost from a few big NFC losses last Sunday. Despite wins from the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, losses by the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons capped off a pretty good Cowboys weekend.
This, of course, all coming after Dallas demolished the Washington Redskins on Thursday night 38-14.
Now at 6-6 the team’s playoff hopes are very much alive. Their next two opponents played one another on Sunday, and neither looked impressive at all. At 2-10 the New York Giants are in full tank mode, and despite sitting in a three way tie atop their division, the Oakland Raiders have been disappointing all season long.
So, after all of the drama and the heartbreak which has surrounded the Cowboys this season, it is not anywhere out of the question that they could be 8-6 when Ezekiel Elliott returns. Plus, his return would come for a key Christmas Eve match-up with the current NFC 6th seed, the Seattle Seahawks.
Things seem to be lining up okay, huh?
Well, I think we have to be honest with ourselves going forward.
Sure the Cowboys are alive in the playoff race, and sure their next two games are far from daunting, but even if they win out and receive the necessary help from their NFC foes, what can we really expect from this team in the postseason?
Dallas has lost four games by multiple scores this season. And of those four games, not a single one was even close by the end of the third quarter. In addition, when they faced the NFC’s elite earlier in the year (Rams, Eagles, and healthy Packers), the Cowboys were a combined 0-3.
All three losses, by the way, came at home.
The Cowboys’ best win this year came against the Kansas City Chiefs, who at the time looked to be fighting for home field advantage in the AFC playoff picture. But at this point its fair to ask if the Chiefs are even any good. Since their electric 5-0 start they’ve stumbled to 6-6 and are at risk of losing their hold of the AFC West.
I know that this weekend was fun for all of us fans, and I hope that the rest of the season is just as exciting as Dallas stays alive week after week. But with the season this team has had, and the way they’ve looked against actual quality opponents, I think it’s okay to wonder if they are really worthy of being in the NFC playoffs.
Of course I am rooting for a 10-6 finish and some late season magic. I hope to travel to Philadelphia in the divisional round and end their season in January. But the odds are very slim, and they are that way because of this team’s own failures.
Now, if they were in the AFC, they’d probably be the third best team in the conference. But that’s a different discussion for another post.