Wow, I did not see that Seahawks
win coming. I pretty much penciled them in for a loss at the Bears
. I mean, this team can't win on the road. They had one measly win over the lowly Panthers
before the Bears game. And the Bears have that "legendary" defense. I don't mean to focus so much on this game, but that win really, really hurt the Cowboys
chances at a wild card berth. I will get into the specifics as to why. First let's take a look at who's competing for the wild card spots:
#1. Chicago: 8-4
#2. Seattle: 7-5
#3. Washington: 6-6
#4. Dallas: 6-6
#5. Tampa Bay: 6-6
#6. Minnesota: 6-6
#7. St. Louis: 5-6-1
So we have 7 teams competing for 2 spots. The 1st wild card spot is pretty much gone for the teams. Barring a monumental breakdown, Chicago or Green Bay will grab that spot (though they both didn't look too good last week). So there's really 6 teams competing for one spot. Seattle is obviously in the driver's spot. Now, as to why that win over the Bears was such a big deal. In the case of a 3 way tie, say between Seattle, Dallas, and Tampa Bay at 9-7, the tiebreaker is decided on conference win percentage. If Seattle had lost to the Bears, and the 49ers
coming up, they would have been one game back in conference win record. They would've been eliminated. But now...it might be too late. In the same scenario of a 3 way tie at 9-7, Seattle now wins based on strength of victory. But now I have Seattle finishing 10-6 and winning outright. They play Arizona, Buffalo, San Fran, and St. Louis. Not much hope there for 3 losses, especially since 3 of those games are at Seattle.
Now, for the good news. The NFC East is still wide open, thanks to the Redskins
win over the Giants
. And the Giants have to play the Saints
, at Falcons
, and at Ravens
. It's a good chance the Giants finish at least 9-7. The best they can finish in the division is 3-3 with a win over the Eagles
in week 17. As for the Redskins, they can win all their games and it might not matter. They have to play the Cowboys in week 17 and they will be 9-6 at best.
This is the whole point of the post. The Cowboys must, MUST finish no worse than 9-7. They can afford only one more loss to the Bengals
, or Saints. If they come into the Redskins game at 8-7 (spooky, just like last year) they can win the division with a win over the Redskins, due to best win percentage in common games. But again, this is all pointless if the Cowboys don't take care of business. Even if they come in at 9-6 for the Redskins game, they lose the divison due to the season sweep by the Redskins. Then they will be at the mercy of the wild card scenario, which as stated above, is almost hopeless.
*Sidenote* Funny thing, if the Redskins lose to the Cowboys but finish 9-7, and either Green Bay or Chicago collapses and finishes 9-7, and the Seahawks go ahead and finish 10-6, the Redskins will grab the wild card spot. In this scenario, they hold the tiebreaker over both Chicago and Green Bay. In case you were wondering, the Cowboys at 9-7 wouldn't hold any tiebreakers over those teams.
Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.