Can Cowboys Win Division with 8-8 Record? Don't Bet on it

In a previous fanpost, I stated that Weeks Five through Ten were very important to the Cowboys and stated best and worst case scenarios for the team. That was anticipating a then possible loss to Denver as well as a then possible win vs New Orleans. This occurred with the Cowboys having a 2-2 record with tough losses at both Kansas City and San Diego. The Cowboys would have had a 7-3 record going into the bye. That was the best case scenario.

At the same time, I also did a worst case scenario. Thankfully it didn't happen, but I did have the Cowboys at 2-8 while the division race was coming down to the Week eleven matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. Thankfully the worst case scenario didn't happen, but neither did the best case scenario.

Here are the NFC East Standings as they exist as of now:

1. Dallas: 5-5, 3-0 Division, and 5-2 in conference.

2. Philadelphia: 5-5, 2-2 Division, and 4-2 in conference

3. NY Giants: 3-6, 1-2 Division, and 2-4 in conference

4. Washington: 3-6, 0-2 Division, and 1-5 in conference

As it stands right now, the Cowboys have the division tiebreaker and Philadelphia would be in 10th place in the NFC.

Week 11

Not much to say here as the Cowboys are off, but Philadelphia has a golden opportunity to take control of the NFC East with a win over Washington. Because the Redskins are pretty much cooked at this point, I suspect it would happen. In other news, the New York Giants play Green Bay and they need to win this game or else the season will be over for them. Predictions: Philadelphia over Washington and NY Giants over Green Bay.

Standings after Week 11

1. Philadelphia: 6-5, 3-2 Division, 5-2 Conference

2. Dallas: 5-5, 3-0 Division, 5-2 Conference

3. NY Giants: 4-6, 1-2 Division, 3-4 Conference

4. Washington: 3-7, 0-3 Division, 1-6 Conference

Dallas is ranked 9th in the NFC

Week 12

After this week, things look rosy for the Cowboys as they beat the Giants and put them one more step closer to elimination. In this scenario, we will just assume that the Cowboys are better rested than the Giants and come out slinging without a care in the world. Philadelphia is off this week which means a win will allow the Cowboys to regain the division. Predictions: Cowboys over NY Giants and San Francisco over Washington.

Standings after Week 12

1. Dallas: 6-5, 4-0 Division, 6-2 Conference

2. Philadelphia: 6-5, 3-2 Division, 5-2 Conference

3. NY Giants: 4-7, 1-3 Division, 3-5 Conference

4. Washington: 3-8, 0-3 Division, 1-7 Conference

Week 13

The biggest thing this week is that Cowboys game vs the Oakland Raiders. I heard that it is going to be played on some holiday called "Thanksgiving." I say this due to some greedy tradition called "Black Friday" which should actually be called "Black Thursday Night." In any case, this game isn't going to be a good test of the Cowboys ability to not get blown out. Quite frankly, Terrell Pryer scares me with his rushing ability and with both DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher not at 100%, Sean Lee out with an hamstring injury, and Bruce Carter playing a bit worse than his ability, this could be a tough game for Dallas to win. For the record, I expect the Cowboys to again play down to their level of competition and it will likely bite them in the ass this time around. Meanwhile the Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals and the Giants and Redskins beat each other up for third in the division. Predictions: Oakland over Dallas, NY Giants over Washington, and Philadelphia over Arizona and Carson Palmer the interception machine.

Standings after Week 13

1. Philadelphia: 7-5, 3-2 Division, 6-2 Conference

2. Dallas: 6-6, 4-0 Division, 6-2 Conference

3. NY Giants: 5-7, 2-3 Division, 4-5 Conference

4. Washington: 3-9, 0-4 Division, 1-8 Conference

Cowboys are Ranked 8th in the conference.

Week 14

At this point in the season it would help Dallas in terms of keeping the pace vs the Eagles in the division. If we tend to be 7-5 at this point of time, it would be a godsend even with Philadelphia matching us win for win. As we see in the above standings that likely will not be the case. If the Cowboys manage to be even or even leading the NFC East, that would be a great deal for us fans. The reason: Philadelphia plays Detroit and it is a game that is likely to be a shootout in a week where the League would love to own 10 time periods in order to get each game to an as wide of audience as possible. Other games on the schedule include Kansas City vs Washington, Carolina vs New Orleans, Arizona vs St. Louis, Seattle vs San Francisco, and Chicago vs Dallas, and that is just in the NFC. Regardless, the Cowboys will likely march right into Chicago and get handed a loss so massive that it all but knocks us out of the playoff hunt. Predictions: Philadelphia over Detroit, NY Giants over San Diego, Chicago over Dallas, Kansas City over Washington.

Standings after Week 14

1. Philadelphia: 8-5, 3-2 Division, 7-2 Conference

2. Dallas: 6-7, 4-0 Division, 6-3 Conference

3. NY Giants: 6-7, 2-3 Division, 4-5 Conference

4. Washington: 3-10, 0-4 Division, 1-8 Conference

Dallas is 10th in the NFC

Week 15

Another big weekend as the Green Bay Packers play the Cowboys. Though Aaron Rodgers might not play in the game, I don't think we are off the hook as Eddie Lacy could be a big problem for our defense even with a healthy Sean Lee. If anything, Green Bay plays down to our ability and loses. Elsewhere the Eagles should make quick work of the Minnesota Vikings and the same for the Redskins over the Atlanta Falcons. The Giants should be lucky that the Seattle Seahawks are in shutdown mode. Predictions: Washington over Atlanta, Seattle over NY Giants, Philadelphia over Minnesota, and Green Bay over Dallas

Standings after Week 15

1. Philadelphia: 9-5, 3-2 Division, 8-2 Conference

2. Dallas: 6-8, 4-0 Division, 6-4 Conference

3. NY Giants: 6-8, 2-3 Division, 4-6 Conference

4. Washington: 4-10, 0-4 Division, 2-8 Conference

Dallas remains in 10th place in the NFC

Week 16

The biggest story this week will likely be the game between Carolina and New Orleans which could decide the NFC South. In this scenario, which I consider to be a major possibility, the NFC East was already clenched in Week 15. I doubt that Chip Kelly would want the division to come down to Week 17 and having to win a game at our house. At worst, the third seed could be clenched this week with Philly playing Chicago, but the Giants have something to say about that because they play Detroit. Meanwhile the Dallas vs Washington game will likely be important because it will likely give the Cowboys a chance to prevent a losing record for the first time since 2010. Predictions: Dallas over Washington (Boys perfect so far in NFC East), Philadelphia over Chicago, and Detroit over NY Giants.

Standings after Week 16

1. Philadelphia: 10-5, 3-2 Division, 9-2 Conference

2. Dallas: 7-8, 5-0 Division, 7-4 Conference

3. NY Giants: 6-9, 2-3 Division, 4-7 Conference

4. Washington: 4-11, 0-5 Division, 2-9 Conference

Dallas remains in 10th place in the NFC

Week 17

The final week of the regular season could likely be void of drama in the NFC. The big story could be the race for the sixth and final seed in the conference. I project that it will involve San Francisco and at least two members of the NFC North. Heck, the seed might come down to the game between Green Bay vs Chicago, loser goes home and the winner travels to either Detroit or Philadelphia. As for the NFC East, the only likely drama will be the likes of the Giants trying to avoid ten losses and Dallas trying to avoid a losing record and remain the average team everybody thinks they are. Predictions: NY Giants over Washington and Dallas over Philadelphia.

Standings after Week 17

1. Philadelphia: 10-6, 3-3 Division, 9-3 Conference

2. Dallas: 8-8, 6-0 Division, 8-4 Conference

3. NY Giants: 7-9, 3-3 Division, 5-7 Conference

4. Washington: 4-12, 0-6 Division, 2-10 Conference

Dallas finishes in 8th place in the NFC


As we seen with this post, the Cowboys can indeed finish 8-8 and sweep the division. However, whatever happens with the Eagles remains out of our power. If we want to go that far, the only way the Cowboys can win the division is if the Eagles luck runs out and both teams end up finishing 8-8. If that is the case, It is very likely that the Cowboys will clinch the division even with a loss to Philadelphia in week 17. That is thanks to the Cowboys stellar Conference record. Our record will also mean that the Cowboys could escape Week 17 with at least a tiebreaker to the Eagles intact. Though it is possible to finish 8-8, tiebreakers mean squat if the team in question is clearly behind the leader in the standings. With all this talk about tiebreakers, the top tiebreaker is best overall record in any division.

There could be two coaching changes in the NFC East. In Washington, I doubt Mike Shanahan will remain head coach of the Redskins beyond this season. Their defense needs a major change and it is likely that the team could get a defensive coach installed. Here's hoping that Wade Phillips is wearing the maroon and gold next season.

As for the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett could be gone as well, but there will be anything close to a change until December 30th. This season marks Garrett's seventh with the team and it is hard to show that your process is a major success. If anything, history will remember Garrett's process as being average at best. As of this point, there seems to be two straight years of 8-8 records and a third non-winning season will not cut it. The only way Garrett could end up keeping his job after this season is if the Cowboys advance to the playoffs and win a game or two.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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