With multiple playoff scenarios for the Dallas Cowboys, it's hard to figure out who they will play at the beginning of this postseason. At the moment the Cowboys could play many teams, so let's jump in and see what team will be going up against the boys.
Alright, this one is rather easy to predict. As of now, the Bucs have clinched the 4th seed in the playoffs and will be playing whoever the 5th seed is… There's a very good chance that it will be the Cowboys.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Cowboys can not decline in the rankings whatsoever. While they are the 5th seed right now, the only other grabbable seeds are the second and first. We can get into why those are the only other seeds available later, but for now, it's safe to say the Buccaneers will be the team to play.
Yep, the Cowboys can still clinch the #1 overall seed. I went over how they can accomplish this in my post titled “Divison and #1 seed still available for Cowboys“. So because of that, I will try to avoid explaining how that's possible.
However, yes, there is a chance the Cowboys can skip the wild card teams altogether and wait to play in the divisional. This would be great, but the chances are very slim.
The 7th seed:
One thing I didn't explain in my last post was how the Cowboys can clinch the #2 seed instead. How is this possible? First, the Cowboys need to beat the Washington Commanders, and then the Phildialpha Eagles need to lose to the New York Giants. Cowboys would then take the division, however, the San Francisco 49ers would need to beat the Arizona Cardinals (which is very likely).
With this, the Cowboys will have missed out on the #1 seed, but instead would pull ahead and get the 2nd overall seed. So, who would they play? At the moment, three teams are still fighting for the 7th seed. Those three teams are the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Seattle Seahawks.
The team with the highest chance right now is the Packers, they only need to beat the Lions and they are in. Even if the Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay has a better conference record so they would go instead, despite both having the same record (which would be 9-8).
The second most likely team is arguably the Seahawks. They must beat a weak Rams team and then have Green Bay lose to the Lions. This would then give both the Lions and Seahawks a 9-8 record, however, earlier in the year the Seahawks beat the Lions so they would move on to the playoffs.
The third team would be the Lions. For them to enter, they would need Seattle to lose to the Rams, and then beat the Packers in Green Bay. Keep in mind that throughout the last 23 years, the Lions have only beaten the Packers in Green bay three times. This is why I am saying that they have the least likely chance to make it.
The Cowboys have already played the Lions and Green Bay earlier in the season. They did not play the Seahawks though (except for in the preseason). So with this knowledge, it's best to say that the Cowboys playing any of these three teams in the wild card is unlikely, but it can be fun to experiment with different timelines. I hope the Cowboys can somehow grab a higher seed, but at the moment they should try to prepare for their likely battle against Tom Brady and the Bucs.