The comically close division race in the NFC East has left four losing teams in contention for the title and a playoff spot. The New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to meet in Week 17, and the next few weeks could set this game up to have huge stakes for both teams. It also could allow for Jason Garrett to get some revenge on his former team.
The Giants entered Week 13 as the division leaders thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Washington Football Team. They helped their position with a road upset over the Seattle Seahawks yesterday, moving to 5-7 on the year.
That position could get even stronger if Washington loses tonight, as expected, against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-8 and waiting to face the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday night. If the Cowboys can start putting a few wins together then they could quickly move into a neck-and-neck race with New York and Washington.
The Cowboys are in much better shape to battle with the Giants than the Football Team. Dallas has the tiebreaker right now over New York thanks to their Week 5 victory, while Washington swept the Cowboys in their two 2020 meetings.
With arguably the easiest schedule remaining of the four NFC East teams, Dallas has an opportunity to make their Week 17 game against the Giants meaningful. But if we get to that point, it means Jason Garrett will get a chance to do something he did plenty of times while with the Cowboys.
Stop Dallas from making the playoffs.
Okay, that was a cheap shot. But plenty of you have blamed Garrett through the years for only having three playoff appearances in his nine seasons as Cowboys head coach.
I've actually been a Garrett apologist most of the time. I think his going 8-8 from 2011-2013 was an accomplishment given the major roster turnover he had to contend with. And what Dallas accomplished in 2016 with a 4th-round rookie QB and the sudden loss of Tony Romo was a testament to the team's leadership.
Don't get me wrong; Garrett deserved to be fired after last season. Things had grown stale and his voice clearly wasn't registering enough with the roster anymore.
Now Jason is in New York coordinating the offense. He's been able to help the Giants overcome the loss of Saquon Barkley and take advantage of the joke that the NFC East has become.
Sure, the Giants are part of the joke. But come January they may be laughing their way to a first-round home game in the playoffs.
Many right now claim to be on “Team Tank” and would love for Dallas to finish the year 3-13 and get as high a draft pick as possible. But I promise you that if we get to Week 17 and the Cowboys have a “win and you're in” scenario against the Giants, many pro-tankers will change their tune.
The delicious irony of a Week 17 game against a Jason Garrett-coached team with playoff implications is the stuff that guys like me live to write about. Hopefully the Cowboys will do their part over the next four weeks to make it possible.