It's been tough for the Dallas Cowboys over the last few weeks. First came the surprise beating by Washington on Monday night, a game that had repercussions beyond just the final score. Quarterback Tony Romo was injured in that game, an event that had a direct impact on the Cowboys losing again yesterday, this time to an Arizona Cardinals team that is the class of the NFC at this point of the season. When Romo will play again, and how well he can move and avoid further injury is still a question.
Fortunately for Dallas, their six-game win streak afforded them a small cushion that could absorb some of the blow from a two-game losing streak. The Cowboys, at 6-3, are still the fifth-seed in the NFC playoff race. They sit a half game behind the 6-2 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.
The NFC playoff teams if the season ended today would be:
1. Arizona Cardinals (7-1)
2. Detroit Lions (6-2)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (6-2)
4. New Orleans Saints (4-4)
5. Dallas Cowboys (6-3)
6. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
The Cowboys actually have a pretty strong Strength of Victory number, which is the composite record of teams defeated. Only the Seahawks have a better SOV among the NFC playoff teams (Cowboys .438, Seahawks .560). That is low down on the list of tiebreakers but is a good indicator of the kind of competition the team has defeated.
Another good indicator of team strength is differential of points for and points against. The Cowboys are at +35. Philadelphia leads the NFC with a +57 differential. Arizona and Detroit have a +36.
So as bad as the storm clouds seem to be at the moment, the Cowboys are still solidly among the playoff teams in the NFC, based on record and other measurements.