It is Thanksgiving weekend, and we are tied for 1st!
We know where we are after 12 games, but the final month is usually the key (Cliche Much?) to where we assign this year's edition of the Dallas Cowboys to history.
I am going back 5 years for some historical reference for winning percentage after Thanksgiving.
- 2008 = 1-3
- 2009 = 3-2
- 2010 = 3-2
- 2011 = 1-4
- 2012 = 3-2
- 2013 = 1-0
While I understand that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, it is the best we have until Stewie loans me his time machine. So using this most recent data, as of 1 DEC 2013, we sport a .480 winning percentage after Thanksgiving the last 5 years and 1 game with many of the current team in Blue & Silver, players and coaches alike.
If we round up to .500 (would anyone in the NFL watching world disagree with a .500 assumption for the Cowboys during any near term prognostication?) for this year's REMAINING 4 games after Thanksgiving, we would finish 2013 regular season with a 9-7 record.
That in itself is progress, too slow for many, but progress. But the real question is will it win the Division? Let's look at our competition.
Washington is 3 - 8 and plays NYG tonight. They play the Giants again, The Chiefs, Falcons, and us. I can see them realistically splitting with the Gmen, beating the Falcons and losing to the Chiefs and Cowboys. This puts the Washington Griffin's out of the conversation at the Dave Campoish 5 - 11 mark.
NY is 4 - 7 and plays the above mentioned Griffins twice, Seahawks In NY, Chargers and Lions as away games. Again the split decision with division rivals, probably lose at home to the Hawks and again in San Diego. Now the game in Detroit should be a very entertaining one as the Lions lack the discipline and focus to be good every week (doubt that Victor Cruz gets Megatron as worked up as Dez did) and are prone to zone out badly during games with lesser teams as they did yesterday against Tampa. So I will go with a surprise NYG win due to Tom Coughlin's drive and determination to keep his team thinking they can overcome anything. This ends NY at 6 - 10.
Philadelphia! Fresh off of their post Bye week win, they are also 7 - 5 and playing two of their last four at home. Good news for them, or is it? It has been reported in great detail this year and last that the Eagles have no home field advantage. The reasons are not important to us here and now, but they face the remainder of the NFC North - Lions, Vikings, and Bears - Oh My - before finishing their season at AT&T Stadium. With a conceivable loss to either Det/Chi, Philly Phinishes their NON Cowboys season at 9 - 6. Oh yea I give little thought to Min beating them so that is an East win.
So back to the original subject of this futuristic rambling; IF the Cowboys are 10 - 5 going into the final tilt and the Eagles are 9-6. do we have the Division wrapped, or do we have to win the final game? Or better yet for the inevitable Sunday night FLEX ratings, if we are 8-7 and the Eagles are 9-6 does the last win give us the crown?
Tie Breaking procedures per the NFL rules (VIA NFL.Com):
TO BREAK A TIE WITHIN A DIVISION
If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.
Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in common games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
First Tie Breaker is Head to Head (I know, Genius at work here) We won already so a win for the good guys in the last week makes us the Champs with the same record. But ~Gasp~ say we lose the final game and each are 9 - 7?
Next Tie Breaker is best record in the DIV:
Eagles are 3-2 and have us left.
We are 4-0 and have Redskins in DC and the Eagles at home.
So we have to only beat either the Skins or Eagles to clinch Division tie breaker. The best Philly can hope for is beating us after Washington had done the same the previous week.
This best for birds scenario ties us in the first 2 determinants and moves to the 3rd, which is common opponents.
Start with the easy ones - our Division, already determined we are up by a score of 4 wins to 3. Other common opponents this year are the NFC North and AFC West, we have 1 win in the AFC West. In the North we are 1 - 1 and have Chi/GB left, so my Blue tinted (not glossed over) glasses give us 1 there for a total of 2 non divisional wins.
They have 1 in the west (Raiders) and 1 in the North against the Rogersless Pack for a total of 2. Referring back to my predictions for the green team above we come to a common opponent win total of 4 non divisional games.
With 7 common opponent wins to a possible 7 for Philly then we go on to the next tiebreaker.
Fourth Tie Breaker / wins in National Football Conference:
We have a 6-2 CONF record AND the Eagles are now 6-2.
In our Conf we have 2 more non division games left (CHI / GB) while the Eagles have 3 more (DET / MIN / CHI).
So If we split the Div games we win this tie breaker as well.
However, If we lose both NFCE games ~shut my mouth~ and tie the Eagles overall record, but beat 1 of CHI / GB we would have a 7-5 Conf record.
Then Eagles then need only beat 2 out of DET / Min / Chi to beat us in the conf at 8-4. IF it comes down to the CONF record and Philly takes care of the NFC North, then we lose on the 4th Tie Breaker. But in this scenario we would have the worst record overall anyway, SO:
MORALE OF THE STORY is we need to sweep our Division! But we can win this Division by being .500 in December as long as one of those Ws is in the East.
Strength of Victory comes next, but I will close down this rabbit hole for now and leave you with a bit of related history. This 5th and much deeper level determination has happened to the Cowboys more than most would ever have guessed.
History below is taken from Wikipedia:
At the end of the 1973 season, the Cowboys and the Redskins finished the season with identical 10-4 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Dallas finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better point differential in head-to-head games.
At the end of the 1978 season, the Cowboys and the LA Rams finished the season with identical 12-4 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Los Angeles was the top NFC seed over Dallas based on a better head-to-head record.
At the end of the 1979 season, the Cowboys and the Eagles finished the season with identical 11-5 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Dallas finished ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East based on a better conference record.
At the end of the 1980 season, the Cowboys and the Eagles finished the season with identical 12-4 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Philadelphia finished ahead of Dallas in the NFC East based on better net points in division games.
At the end of the 1985 season, the Cowboys, Redskins, and the Giants finished the season with identical 10-6 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Dallas finished ahead of New York and Washington based on a better head-to-head record.
At the end of the 1991 season, the Cowboys and the Bears finished the season with identical 11-5 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Chicago was the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record than Dallas.
At the end of the 1996 season, the Cowboys and the Eagles finished the season with identical 10-6 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Dallas finished ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East based on better record against common opponents.
At the end of the 1999 season, the Cowboys, Lions, and the Panthers finished the season with identical 8-8 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Dallas was the second NFC Wild Card based on a better record than Detroit against common opponents and a better conference record than Carolina.
At the end of the 2009 season, the Cowboys and the Eagles finished with identical 11-5 records. Using the NFL's tie-breaking procedures, Dallas finished ahead of Philadelphia in the NFC East based on better head-to-head record.