As we head into Week 11, the playoff race is coming into focus. Some teams are are already making personnel decisions with the expectation of making the playoffs, other teams are desperately trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.
With a win on Sunday, the Cowboys have a chance to move to .500 and come within a game of the division-leading Giants. But other teams may also have an impact on the Cowboys' post-season chances.
Here's an overview of how the NFC currently stacks up in the playoff race. The teams are sorted by their odds of making the playoffs, as calculated by Football Outsiders:
|Division Leaders||Wildcard||In the Hunt|
|Teams||Playoff Odds||Teams||Playoff Odds||Teams||Playoff Odds|
|Falcons (8-1)||95.7%||Packers (6-3)||87.1%||Cowboys (4-5)||39.1%|
|Bears (7-2)||90.4%||Seahawks (6-4)||82.8%||Buccaneers (5-4)||20.5%|
|49ers (6-3)||85.9%||Vikings (6-4)||9.5%|
|Giants (6-4)||71.7%||Saints (4-5)||4.8%|
Some fans on our board don't give up on their playoff hopes until we're mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, other fans are already looking to optimize the Cowboys' draft position. Either way, our Week 11 Rooting Guide should have you covered:
Playoff Rooting Interests
- Cowboys (4-5) over Browns (2-7): Don't be silly.
- Redskins (3-6) over Eagles (3-6). The best result here would be if both teams lose. Barring that, we're rooting against the team that is 11-14 since its now-concussed quarterback said "You can't design a defense to stop me."
- Lions (4-5) over Packers (6-3): Barring a division title, the Cowboys route to the playoffs will be via a wildcard spot. The Packers are a direct competitor for that spot, so we grudgingly root for that bunch of misfits in Detroit and their Chief Enabling Officer Jim Schwartz.
- 49ers (6-2) over Bears (7-2): The Bears have a head-to-head tie-breaker over Dallas, thanks to the Week 4 five-turnover debacle. With the surging Packers, the Bears are not assured of the division title by a long shot, so they could end up competing for a wildcard against the Cowboys. As much as it pains Cowboys fans, we must root for the 49ers. Ugh.
- Panthers (2-7) over Buccaneers (5-4): The Buccaneers are in the playoff hunt, and it would be good for the Cowboys if Cam Newton and the Panthers helped the Buccaneers fan base transition from playoff talk to draft talk.
2013 NFL Draft Rooting Interests
- Cardinals (4-5) over Falcons (8-1). For the Falcons not to make the playoffs would take a collapse of such epic proportions that it's simply not going to happen. But Strength of Schedule helps to determine the draft order in the event of tie-breakers, so the weaker the Cowboys' schedule, the better their draft position. The Cowboys played the Falcons this year so they count against the Cowboys' Strength of Schedule. We're rooting for a Cardinals upset.
- Raiders (3-6) over Saints (4-5): The Cowboys face the Saints in Week 16, so they figure into the Cowboys' Strength of Schedule as well. An Oakland win would weaken Dallas' Strength of Schedule (and thus improve their draft position), so we're rooting for the Raiders. Just win, baby!
- Rams (3-5-1) over Jets (3-6): This game has no impact on the Cowboys' playoff chances, but you should be rooting for the NFC team to beat the AFC team, just on principle - and because that AFC team is the Jets.
- All AFC games: We'll leave it up to you who to root for here.