Obviously, we want the Cowboys to do well this year, as the only way you can win the Super Bowl is to make the playoffs. But barring the Cowboys winning in the Meadowlands, I was interested to see where the Cowboys could potentially pick if they didn't make the second round of the NFL season. So, I calculated things out and came up with the various scenarios you should root for assuming you only wanted the best for the Cowboys in terms of draft position (assuming they didn't make it to the playoffs). Feel free to vary up your rooting interests based on your own personal likes and dislikes (Tebowmania, anti-Tebowmania, Texans second lover, wanting the Eagles to lose just because you like to see them lose, etc.)
If the Cowboys lose, they can get a draft pick anywhere from 13th to 18th. There are currently 11 teams which are guaranteed to have a worse record than 8-8. There are also 11 teams which have a possibility of becoming 8-8. However, 2 of the 7-8 teams play each other, so, at least one of them will be worse than 8-8. Meaning that if the Cowboys lose, there are a guaranteed 12 teams who will have worse records. For the Cowboys, their SoS is near the worst of those teams who have a chance of being 8-8, so they will pick near the bottom of their rung whoever is on it.
The fortunate thing is that the Giants have among the highest SoS among teams with an 8-8 record so a lot of things that would affect the Cowboys positively won't really change much for the Giants assuming the Cowboys win. So, for the most part you can root for these teams and not have to worry about the Giants getting a better pick in the draft.
For Week 17, each team is playing a division rival. So, for the vast majority of games, the SoS will not change very much since each game will produce a .500 outcome. However, each team has 2 teams that they played which do NOT play each other this week, and the changes for THOSE teams are the ones that will significantly impact a team's SoS. Those two teams are listed for each team in the 8-8 race.
|Team||Current W-L||Low Bound SoS W assuming 8-8||High Bound SoS W assuming 8-8||W17 Opp||1st Schedule Diff Opp.||2nd Schedule Diff Opp.|
|Dallas||8-7||121||123||New York Giants||Detroit||Tampa Bay|
|New York Jets||8-7||126||128||Miami||Baltimore||Jacksonville|
|New York Giants||8-7||133||135||Dallas||New Orleans||Green Bay|
For each strong interest game that goes against the rooting interest, the Cowboys will very likely drop 1 draft spot. The lesser interest games will slightly influence how likely the Cowboys will drop that 1 spot.
Here are the rooting interests:
Tennessee @ Houston
Rooting Interest: Tennessee
Reason: Tennessee has a comparable SoS to the Cowboys, so it would be best if they left the 8-8 bunch. This is 1 of 2 strong interest games where if the New York Giants lose, they will be helped by the same rooting interest of the Cowboys.
Seattle @ Arizona
Rooting Interest: Seattle
Reason: Arizona has a comparable SoS to the Cowboys, and since the loser of this game is already going to have a higher pick than the Cowboys, it would be best to have the Cardinals be that team.
Washington @ Philadelphia
Rooting Interest: Philadelphia
Reason: Philadelphia is at 7-8 and needs a win to be in the 8-8 bunch. They will have a worse draft pick even assuming the Cowboys SoS improves to 123, because they have a better divisional record than the Cowboys.
San Diego @ Oakland
Rooting Interest: San Diego
Reason: San Diego is at 7-8 and needs a win to be in the 8-8 bunch. Oakland has a higher SoS, so it doesn't matter if they fall to 8-8.
Chicago @ Minnesota
Rooting Interest: Chicago
Reason: Chicago is at 7-8 and needs a win to be in the 8-8 bunch. This is 1 of 2 strong interest games where if the New York Giants lose, they will be helped by the same rooting interest of the Cowboys.
Detroit @ Green Bay
Rooting Interest: Green Bay
Reason: Green Bay winning would increase New York Gs SoS and decrease Dallas SoS.
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
Rooting Interest: Atlanta
Reason: Tampa Bay losing would decrease Dallas SoS.
Denver @ Kansas City
Rooting Interest: Denver
Reason: Denver winning would increase Tennessee SoS.
Buffalo @ New England
Rooting Interest: Buffalo
Reason: Buffalo winning would increase Tennessee SoS.
Carolina @ New Orleans
Rooting Interest: Carolina
Reason: Carolina winning would increase Arizona SoS. Though this WOULD decrease New York Gs SoS.
New York Jets @ Miami
Rooting Interest: New York Jets
Reason: New York Jets winning would push them out of the 8-8 bunch, and would improve the later round picks for the Cowboys.
Obviously, it would be best if the Cowboys win this Sunday and make it to the playoffs, but it's nice to know that there's a decent possibility that even if they don't win, they'll get a pretty good draft pick out of it. And you can cheer for that possibility also!