The Dallas Cowboys have made it through Week 10 of the NFL schedule and with a better-than-expected 7-3 record they have put themselves squarely in the hunt for the playoffs. They have also reached the "odd" portion of their schedule, a stretch that we talked about long ago when the 2014 schedules came out way back in the offseason. First Dallas goes through their bye week, then travel to play the Giants on a Sunday night on Nov. 23rd. After that they turn around and play the Eagles on Thanksgiving afternoon. That is an extremely quick turnaround for a team. Playing on Sunday night, traveling to-and-from New York, then playing on Thursday afternoon. Didn't anybody in the schedule-makers room think twice about that? Anyway, the Cowboys then play the Bears on the next Thursday evening which precedes a 10-day layoff until they travel to Philly to complete this kooky run.
We're also at the point of the season, especially since Dallas is on a bye week, to start some serious scoreboard watching. This weekend we have four games with direct impact on the Cowboys playoff chances. The most important of those is the Eagles @ Packers game.
Eagles (7-2, 2-2 away) - Packers (6-3, 4-0 home)
4:25 PM EST Sunday, FOX
This game is a double-edged sword, but one side of the sword is definitely sharper than the other. The Cowboys rooting interest here definitely lies with an Eagles loss. Philadelphia current sits a half-game ahead of Dallas in the NFC East. Coming out of this game the Eagles will either be one game ahead, or tied with Dallas. I think you have to root for tied. But, the Packers are in contention for an NFC wildcard slot at 6-3, if they win they will be tied with Dallas for that wildcard spot at 7-3. Still, you have to root for the Eagles to go down. The Packers have won five of their last six games and they are at home where they are undefeated so far.
This is the marquee matchup of the week in the NFC. The Cardinals hold the league's best record and they have a victory over the Cowboys. But, they just lost Carson Palmer. Can Drew Stanton really keep this thing going in Arizona? We'll start to find out in this game, it's possible the Cards could tank now that Palmer is out. The Lions are tied for the league's second-best record and their defense is a big reason why. Both these teams are leading their division, but the Lions are being chased by the Packers, and the Seahawks are looking to catch Arizona. Those two teams (cards and Seahawks) still have two games to play between them, just like Dallas and Philadelphia. So the Cards or the Lions could fall back into the wildcard picture.
Seahawks (6-3, 2-2 away) - Chiefs (6-3, 3-1 home)
1:00 PM EST Sunday, FOX
The Seahawks have started to right the ship and are now getting back into serious contention for the playoffs. They are 6-3, but they have a big battle in Kansas City this week. If the Seahawks win, they move one step closer to the Cards (if they lose to Detroit). A win also moves Seattle into a tie with the Cowboys for a wildcard spot, but the Cowboys have the head-to-head tiebreaker.
49ers (5-4, 3-2 away) - Giants(3-6, 2-2 home)
1:00 PM EST Sunday, FOX
The 49ers could still fight their way in, probably not through the NFC West title, although that's not impossible, but more than likely trying to grab a wildcard spot. A win this weekend gets them to 6-4, just one game behind Dallas.
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