The Dallas Cowboys are currently at the bottom of the NFC East at 3-8 but in 2020 that doesn't mean what it would in most seasons. With the division leaders only 4-7 themselves the Cowboys are still contending for a division title, and the Week 13 schedule gives them a good opportunity to make up some ground.
Before we dig into the games let's take a quick look at the current NFC East standings:
New York Giants 4-7 (3-2 in division)
Washington Football Team 4-7 (3-2)
Philadelphia Eagles 3-7-1 (1-3)
Dallas Cowboys 3-8 (2-2)
The Giants locked up a head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington by winning both of their matchups this season. They split their two games with the Eagles and lost to the Cowboys in Week 5, with the rematch scheduled for Week 17.
These narrow margins mean that a lot can happen over these last five regular-season weeks, including Dallas moving from the basement to the relative penthouse. And while winning this division may not be any great accomplishment in 2020, it stills comes with an automatic playoff spot and first-round home game.
If those are goals you're still interested in then you should be encouraged by the rest of this article. If you've got a ticket on the “Tank Train” then I'm sorry, but this may not be your week.
All four NFC East teams are on the road this week against winning teams. Of the four games, Dallas has arguably the easiest draw in their matchup with the 6-5 Baltimore Ravens.
The Giants are headed to Seattle (8-3), the Eagles to Green Bay (8-3), and the Football Team will meet the still-undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0).
It's highly possible that our division will get swept given the matchups, but perhaps this week will allow the Cowboys to be the only winner and move up the standings.
As I talked about yesterday, the Ravens should present Dallas with a winnable game. The Cowboys have enjoyed a long break since Thanksgiving to rest and prepare for Baltimore while their opponent is coming off a short week and all of the turmoil from their COVID-19 outbreak.
The biggest issue for Dallas right now is whether or not they'll have Zack Martin available. They haven't won a game yet without their All-Pro guard/tackle in the lineup and so far he's yet to return to practice since the loss to Washington.
But perhaps having 12 days to prepare for playing without Martin has allowed Kellen Moore to better equip his offense. And with Baltimore's issues coming into the game maybe they won't be as able to exploit Zack's absence.
Every week comes with “ifs” and “maybes” and eternal optimism about “any given Sunday.” No game in the NFL is a sure thing and that's just as true for our division rivals. Perhaps New York or Washington pulls off an upset win and takes sole possession of first place.
But let's say Dallas is the only winner this week. That would leave the Cowboys, Giants, and the Football Team all with 4-8 records heading into the final quarter of 2020, and Philly barly behind them at 3-8-1.
If the Cowboys can pull off their own upset Tuesday night, then get Zack Martin back into the lineup for the rest of the season, they could be in prime position to finish this fight.
Even if they can't get it done this week against Baltimore then hopefully Dallas is just another loser from the NFL's worst division. That would leave them exactly where they stand today, just a game or two out of the division lead with four games left to play.
Say what you will about this 2020 season, but at least it's still interesting.