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Next Six Weeks Crucial to Cowboys Playoff Hopes

The Dallas Cowboys are stuck in a rut. One week us fans, and the team, enjoy a nice slow ride up a hill, and then the next week, it is a fast and wild ride down that same hill. As a fanbase, we have already covered the reasons for the team's 2-2 start, but the good news, for now, is that the team leads the NFC East. That could change very rapidly within the next five weeks. If the team isn't careful, us fans could be waking up to a 2-8 team on Veterans Day and two weeks worth of soul searching. What follows is a objective study of the next six weeks of play in the NFC East.

Week 5

Washington Redskins: I start with the easiest team in the division only because the Skins are on their bye week. Hopefully they don't get into trouble, but they forget to play football and it results in Robert Griffin III and a full team of weaklings playing us in Week 6:

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: What can I say, this is a matchup of two losers and that is being kind. Philadelphia enters with a 1-3 record while the Giants are 0-4. In the best case scenario, the Giants win this game to improve to 1-4. The reason why is because the New York Giants need to win this game to keep Philadelphia from improving to 2-3. As it stands, we root for Eli Manning to have the best day possible vs the Philadelphia pass rush and the Giants gain some confidence.

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys: Depressing isn't it. I do have Denver beating Dallas in my Lock of the week. However, the Cowboys can still win this game. All we have to do is keep the ball on the ground by giving it to DeMarco Murray and involve our rookies in the passing game a bit more. That will allow us to dominate time of possession and keep Peyton Manning off the field. Best Case Scenario: We hang with the Broncos and maybe beat them. Worst Case Scenario: We are down at the half and then forget that Murray exists and the victorious Eagles are LOL'ing at our mistakes in the MetLife Stadium visitors locker room. Regardless of this fact, make no mistake, I don't expect Dallas to win this game, but It would be nice if we did.

Best Case Scenario standings

Dallas: 2-3

Washington: 1-3

NY Giants: 1-4

Philadelphia: 1-4

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Worst Case Scenario standings

Dallas 2-3

Philadelphia: 2-3

Washington: 1-3

NY Giants: 0-5

Week 6

Giants at Chicago Bears: Now we can resume laughing at the Giants misfortune. Best case scenario: Giants are treated like a rented mule at Solider Field to the point that Jay Cutler has career highs vs the Giants. Worst Case Scenario: Giants continue or begin to win vs the Bears.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What can I say, the Eagles could win this game, but it is going to be a battle of college coaches in this one. Best Case Scenario, Tampa Bay picks a good time to win a game. Worst Case Scenario: Philadelphia picks a good time to go on a winning streak with Dallas Week up next.

Washington at Dallas: This is the first of two straight division games for the Cowboys and the beginning of a tough five game stretch for the Redskins before the Week 11 rematch at Philadelphia. Both teams can use a win here. Best Case Secenario: Cowboys win by exploiting the Redskins defense. This means heavy rushing by Murray and giving the ball to Dez Bryant for big catches. Worst Case Scenario: RGIII simply continues where he left off on following last year's Thanksgiving game.

Best Case Scenario Standings

Dallas: 3-3

Washington: 1-4

NY Giants: 1-5

Philadelphia: 1-5

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Worst Case Scenario Standings

Philadelphia: 3-3

Washington: 2-3

Dallas: 2-4

NY Giants: 1-5

Week 7

Chicago at Washington: As noted above, this is the start of a tough stretch for the Redskins. Luckily, it starts with the Skins hosting the Bears but it isn't likely that Washington will enjoy a slight home field advantage given how Chicago is playing despite last week's loss to Detroit. Best Case Scenario: The Bears continue their mastery of the NFC East with the dismantling of their hosts. Worst Case Scenario: Washington loves to eat Bears to Stephen Colbert's glee, and wins a shootout due to a timely interception committed by Cutler.

Dallas at Philadelphia: Regardless of what happened on the field, it is clear that the week leading up to this game will be a spirited one for both fanbases at SBNation and it all started over Anthony Spencer and his sack totals. Regardless, this will be a key game for both teams. Best Case Scenario: Chip Kelly keeps getting "Welcome to the NFL," moments and that means a dominating win over the Eagles. Worst Case Scenario: Not a good day for the Cowboys as it is clear by this point that the plan put forth by the San Diego Chargers. This includes a career day for Michael Vick and both LeSean McCoy.

Minnesota Vikings at NY Giants: The only saving grace for the Giants is that they get Eleven days off following the Week six game. Best Case Scenario: Adrian Peterson has a field day at MetLife. He first gets to meet Snoopy and then gets to trash the Giants defense and rushes for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns. Worst Case Scenario: Giants win over Minnesota and do so in a shootout and Eli manages to destroy the Minnesota defense late.

Best Case Scenario Standings

Dallas: 4-3

Washington: 1-5

NY Giants: 1-5

Philadelphia: 1-5

==========================================

Worst Case Scenario Standings

Philadelphia: 4-3

Washington: 3-3

Dallas: 2-5

NY Giants: 2-5

Week 8

Dallas at Detroit Lions: This is the first of two games where the Cowboys face a team with an elite running back. Here the Cowboys have to contend with Reggie Bush and he is crucial to the Lions playoff hopes. However, we also have to keep Calvin Johnson in our gameplan as well, unless he is not scheduled to play, but we can't plan on that happening. Best Case Scenario: We force Detroit to abandon the run and the Cowboys go interception crazy on Matthew Stafford. Worst Case Scenario: Reggie Bush has a career day vs Dallas.

NY Giants at Philadelphia: The second of two games between these teams this season. Best Case Scenario: It doesn't matter what happens here, but if I were to forced to cheer for either of the two teams, I would Pick the Giants to win. Worst Case Scenario: Giants win in a world where the Cowboys are third in the division. Not good news for Dallas.

Washington at Denver: Washington's tough stretch continues vs the Broncos. Best Case Scenario: Denver mops up vs the Washington Defense and Peyton doesn't need to play the 4th quarter. Worst Case Scenario: Denver's defense fails to contain RGIII and this leads to the Broncos first loss of the season.

Best Case Scenario Standings

Dallas: 5-3

NY Giants: 2-6

Washington: 1-6

Philadelphia: 1-7

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Worst Case Scenario Standings

Washington: 4-3

Philadelphia: 4-4

NY Giants: 3-5

Dallas: 2-6

Week 9

NY Giants: Our enemy in New York has their bye weekend.

Minnesota at Dallas: The Vikings come to AT&T for the first time, also known as Jerry world. Best Case Scenario: We treat the Vikings to strippers and they forget their gameplan, as a result, they are staring at the big screen all game and watching Tony Romo take out their defense. After the game, Jared Allen agrees to a verbal contract to play for the Cowboys next season. Worst Case Scenario: AP loves Texas and goes wild against our defense. As a result, the Vikings enjoy a two touchdown victory.

San Diego at Washington: Yes the stretch continues with Washington facing the Chargers. Best Case Scenario: San Diego treats Washington just like they treated the Cowboys and destroy the Washington defense. Worst Case Scenario: The Redskins manage to win in thrilling fashion and keep pace with the Eagles in the division.

Philadelphia at Oakland Raiders: The Eagles make their trip west. Best Case Scenario: The Eagles fail to play their best vs the Raiders and lose in a blowout. Worst Case Scenario: Philadelphia wins with ease.

Best Case Scenario Standings

Dallas: 6-3

NY Giants: 2-6

Washington: 1-7

Philadelphia: 1-8

=============================================

Worst Case Scenario Standings

Washington: 5-3

Philadelphia: 5-4

NY Giants: 3-5

Dallas: 2-7

Week 10

Washington at Minnesota: The last in a very tough stretch of games lets Washington travel to Minnesota for this Thursday tilt. The only saving grace is that the Redskins handled the Vikings very well in their last meeting. Best Case Scenario: The Vikings win this one after an RGIII fumble that would have given the Redskins the game winning touchdown. Worst Case Scenario: Washington continues their dominance of the Vikings.

Philadelphia at Green Bay Packers: Chip Kelly's Eagles face a former Pac-10 QB in Aaron Rodgers. Best Case Scenario: So the Eagles don't get a prime pick, it is best for them to win this game, plus we remember how much the Packers contributed to Cowboy woes in the past. Worst Case Scenario: At this point it doesn't even matter, but the Eagles win.

Oakland at NY Giants: The rebuilding Raiders continue their tour of the NFC East. Best Case Scenario: Giants win and we need them to continue to win so they don't get a good pick. Worst Case Scenario: Giants win and put distance between themselves and the lowly Cowboys.

Dallas at New Orleans Saints: This is a game worthy of Sunday Night Football as the Dallas Cowboys face off against the Saints. What will happen? Will Rob Ryan manage to get the best of Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense or will Drew Brees be screaming for mommy thanks to the Sean Lee Pass rush? Best Case Scenario: Yes we have a three and a half game lead on the Giants, but we need, and will get, this win so we can go into the bye with a stranglehold on the NFC East. Worst Case Scenario: The season doesn't matter at this point. Tank the season and get some fresh help with high draft picks, Cowboys lose.

Best Case Scenario Standings and Analysis

Dallas: 7-3

NY Giants: 3-6

Philadelphia: 2-8

Washington: 1-8

What happens here is that the Cowboys have taken control of the division and they will need the current 3.5 game lead for the stretch run. For the record, Dallas is in position to clench the division as soon as Thanksgiving when the team faces Oakland in our yard. Given the current makeup of the conference, it is very likely that the Cowboys could end up clenching a 1st round bye as well. It would be nice for the starters to come into Week 17, and being able to rest for the next two weeks. As for the other NFC East teams, Washington is the worst of the bunch, but St. Louis holds their 1st round draft pick and the worst case scenario for the draft would have both New York and Philadelphia in the middle to bottom of the top 10.

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Worst Case Scenario Standings and Analysis

Washington: 6-3

Philadelphia: 6-4

NY Giants: 4-5

Dallas: 2-8

Hopefully this scenario doesn't come to pass, but it does show how things change in the league. In this scenario, the Week 11 matchup will be key to deciding the Division. A Philadelphia win means that the Eagles will control the tiebreaker with Washington, but with the Giants hot on their tail. The game vs Green Bay will tell the tale. A Win and New York can think about fighting for a wild card berth, but a loss will pretty much end their season with the 2-8 Cowboys coming to town. As for our boys, what can I say. What needs to happen is that the Cowboys need to win out and a collapse happens with both Washington and Philadelphia in order for us to try to sniff the postseason.

The above maybe best and worst case scenarios, but we can also expect a middle of the road scenario as well. Despite the current health of the NFC East, this is a league where any team can win on any given Sunday. The Cowboys could enter their bye week with a 5-5 record and breeze through the rest of the schedule with a perfect record, or we could finish 8-8 for the third season in a row and lose to Philadelphia in our own building.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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