After clinching the NFC East a week ago with their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday’s season finale against the Giants was rendered meaningless.
No matter the outcome the Cowboys are locked into the number four seed, and will be hosting the top seeded wild card team. Because of the lack of meaning in terms of playoff seeding, many are suggesting the Cowboys should rest as many starters as possible and basically tank the game. After all, going into the playoffs healthy is more important than winning a meaningless regular season game.
But the reality is this game is going to be played, and the Cowboys have to prepare themselves for one final NFL football game before getting to those playoffs. So where can the Cowboys (and their fans) find meaning in this meaningless game?
NFC East Record
Entering Sunday’s game against the Giants the Cowboys are 4-1 in the division, and have a chance to finish 5-1 back to back seasons. Sure they would still have a winning record even with a loss, but a victory would really drive their division dominance home.
Plus, a victory would result in a sweep of the New York Giants for the second straight year, returning the favor for how the Giants swept Dallas during Dak Prescott’s rookie season. Sweeping your division rival is important to do, even if it won’t improve your playoff positioning.
10-6 > 9-7
You don’t need an advanced degree in mathematics to realize this is the case, but I do think there’s something to be said about reaching the 10-win mark. No, the Cowboys probably didn’t have “win 10 games” as one of their preseason goals, but it certainly would be nice to do.
After all, Dallas finished the 2017 season with a 9-7 record, but that did feel successful to anyone? Getting to 10 wins would be a really nice accomplishment for the Dallas Cowboys, especially after they started 3-5.
Finding, And Staying In, A Rhythm
While I believe between game momentum is a myth, and have the numbers to prove so, there is value to staying in your routine/rhythm week to week. For 15 games the Cowboys have been preparing, practicing, and playing the same way. Switching that up just a week before the biggest game of your season is a bad idea.
The Cowboys should look to get their important players regular work during the week, and some reps during the game to keep them in their routine. The old saying that we are “creatures of habit” has proved true time and time again, and breaking that routine right before your playoff game would be an ill-advised decision.
Still, remaining healthy would be the biggest win of them all this Sunday against the Giants.