Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Week 11 Playoff Projection: Cowboys Win Could Send Shockwave

Jess Haynie



With last week's loss in Atlanta, the Dallas Cowboys fell out of the NFC's top six. They sit on the outside with several other 5-4 teams hoping to push their way back into a playoff spot.

This week's schedule for NFC contenders features two major matchups and the Cowboys are in one of them. Before we get to the games, here's a look at the current standings for the conference:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (7-2)
  3. New Orleans Saints (7-2)
  4. Los Angeles Rams (7-2)
  5. Carolina Panthers (7-3)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (7-2)
  7. Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
  8. Detroit Lions (5-4)
  9. Green Bay Packers (5-4)
  10. Dallas Cowboys (5-4)


  • Minnesota is ahead of New Orleans because of a Week One head-to-head victory.
  • New Orleans (5-1) is ahead of Los Angeles (4-2) thanks to a better record in NFC play.
  • The cluster of 5-4 teams are ranked due to head-to-head tiebreakers. Atlanta has wins against Detroit, Green Bay, and Dallas so they sit on top. Detroit has a win over Green Bay. The Packers beat the Cowboys earlier this year. Therefore, Dallas is at the bottom of the pile.

While things feel dire in Dallas right now, your Cowboys still have only four losses. If they can figure out how to play without Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee, the Boys can get back in the race. With seven games left to play, a lot can happen with the teams ahead of them as well.

Here are the relevant games for the NFC contenders in Week 11:

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

The thought of the struggling Cowboys bouncing back and beating arguably the hottest team in the NFL tonight probably seems a little too good to be true. However, rivalry games rarely follow the on-paper probability.

What effect coming off their bye week have on the Eagles? As we've seen many times, extra rest can also result in a loss of rhythm. If Philly comes out cold, the Cowboys still have enough talent to take advantage. A loss wouldn't pull the Eagles out of the NFC's top two, but it would help restore confidence in the Cowboys and close the gap in the NFC East.

Los Angeles Rams @ Minnesota Vikings

Before the season, who could've guessed that this game would have such significance? Yet here we are with these 7-2 teams colliding and major playoff implications at work. Both the head-to-head tiebreaker and conference record are on the line, making this the game of the week for the NFC.

Washington @ New Orleans Saints

Also 7-2, the red-hot Saints should be rooting for the Rams in the game we just mentioned. The Vikings currently sit above New Orleans with a head-to-head tiebreaker from their Week One meeting. Not only would a Minnesota loss pull them below the Saints, but the Rams still would have a worse conference record (5-2) than the Saints (6-1). That is, of course, assuming the Saints handle business today against Washington.

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears

The Lions are trying to stay alive at 5-4 and have a welcome game against the sorry Bears to help their cause. I thought Chicago would hang a loss on the Packers last week with Brett Hundley playing quarterback, but that was too much to ask. Now Matthew Stafford comes into town and should have an even easier time.

Baltimore Ravens @ Green Bay Packers

Coming off that big win last week, the Packers will host the middling Ravens. Baltimore has had some nice wins and some ugly losses this year, making them a tough opponent to predict from week to week. This one could go either way, and obviously Dallas fans should be rooting for the Packers to slide out of contention.

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks

This is a win-win for the Cowboys. Atlanta taking a loss would knock a dangerous playoff threat, with same overall record and a head-to-head tiebreaker, down to 5-5.  Seattle currently sits in the #6 spot and the final wild card, so they also need to lose to help Dallas' playoff chances.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



Deonte Thompson

The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.

By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.

While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.

Byron Jones

The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.

Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.

Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.

Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.

Chaz Green

Okay, hear me out.

The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.

Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.

Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.

Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.

La'el Collins

It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.

Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.

Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.

Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.

If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.

Continue Reading

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here