The Dallas Cowboys spent Week 11 of the NFL schedule on the sidelines, taking advantage of their bye week and hopefully getting a couple of guys even more healthy. While the Cowboys were idle, the rest of the NFL went right on playing games. So how did those games affect the Cowboys playoff chances?
Dallas now is sixth in the NFC playoff race, dropping a spot because of the Green Bay Packers win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The top eight NFC teams shake out like this:
|1||Arizona||9-1||2-0||7-0||0.478||0.45||NFC West Champ|
|2||Detroit||7-3||2-0||5-2||0.423||0.429||NFC North Champ (Wins tie break over Green Bay based on head-to-head win percentage.) Wins tie break over Philadelphia based on best win percentage in conference games.|
|3||Philadelphia||7-3||2-0||4-3||0.463||0.367||NFC East Champ (Wins tie break over Dallas based on best win percentage in division games.)|
|4||Atlanta||4-6||4-0||4-4||0.428||0.267||NFC South Champ (Wins tie break over New Orleans based on head-to-head win percentage.)|
|5||Green Bay||7-3||3-1||5-3||0.445||0.385||Wins tie break over Dallas based on best win percentage in conference games.|
|7||San Francisco||6-4||1-2||5-3||0.589||0.58||Wins tie break over Seattle based on best win percentage in division games.|
Green Bay was able to jump ahead of Dallas because they have a better record in the conference for now. But the big result from that game was the fact that Philadelphia fell into a first-place tie with Dallas, even though they hold the edge right now based on a better record in the division.
Dallas holds a one-game lead on the two teams chasing for the final wildcard spot, San Francisco and Seattle. Dallas owns the tie-breaker over Seattle if it should come to that, but loses the tie-breaker to San Francisco.
Even though Dallas shows up at sixth in the conference and squeaking in for the last playoff spot, they control their own destiny, and could actually end up getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs if they finish strong. The only team with a better record in the conference is the Arizona Cardinals. Detroit and Green Bay are tied with Dallas and Philadelphia for the second spot in the NFC record-wise.
Of course, for Dallas, the straightest path to the playoffs is through the NFC East. The two games coming up with Philadelphia will go a long way to deciding the division. Before we get to that, though, the Cowboys need to take care of business in New York this weekend.