When I posted "I Did the Math" earlier in the week to lay out the mathematical possibilities for the Cowboys to make the playoffs, I focused on teams that had to finish 8-8 or worse - Green Bay (had to lose out from 8-4), Philadelphia (also had to lose out from 8-4; Cowboys will help them get there), and Tampa Bay (must finish 1-3 or worse).
I told you to watch the Green Bay game today at Detroit. If the Packers won, then the Cowboys would be eliminated.
Detroit beat them, 7-3, so for those of us that hope until there is no more hope, the Cowboys still live.Tampa Bay didn't help by beating the Redskins today - a blocked extra point with nine seconds left?
So, to update the scenarios before tonight's game:
The Cowboys are still eliminated from winning the division. The Giants and Eagles still have to play again, so they cannot both finish 8-8. Someone will be at least 9-7, or both will be at least 8-7-1.
Green Bay needs to lose out. They play the Giants. The Giants need to beat them. So, I set up scenarios only involving Dallas catching Philadelphia. Hand the Giants the NFC East crown and be done with it.
For the Cowboys to make the playoffs (still a mathematical possibility, even though highly unlikely), they have to win out and finish 8-8. Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia have to all lose out to also finish 8-8. The Cowboys would hold the obscure tiebreaker called "strength of victory". St. Louis could also finish at 8-8 and lose that tiebreaker to Dallas. The only team who could win a multi-team tiebreaker from the Cowboys is Seattle. They would have to lose the division and join the group at 8-8, but they would have a better conference record than anyone else at 8-8.
In the NFC South, both Atlanta and New Orleans have nine wins or more. One of them will be champion, and the other will be a wild card (or, at least keep Dallas from being the #1 wild card). If no other non-division winner gets to nine wins, the Cowboys have a shot.