Times are good for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans. Another win on Sunday means another step toward the 2016 NFL playoffs. The Cowboys comeback win over the Pittsburgh Steelers moved their record to 8-1 on the season. After the Seattle Seahawks defeated the New England Patriots on Sunday night, the Cowboys took over sole possession of the NFL’s best record. No other team has only one loss on the season.
Five Thirty Eight has the Cowboys calculated at a 98% chance to make the playoffs, 83% chance of winning the division, and a 78% chance of getting a first-round bye.
At this moment, the NFC East has three teams in the playoffs (the Giants play on Monday Night football). The NFC playoff picture looks like this:
- Cowboys (8-1, NFC East)
- Seahawks (6-2-1, NFC West)
- Falcons (6-4, NFC South)
- Lions (5-4, NFC North)
- Giants (5-3, Wild Card)
- Washington (5-3-1, Wild Card)
Behind Washington, there is a huge group of teams ready to play their way in. Seven teams stand within 1.5 games of the final wild card spot.
There’s plenty of room for movement, but the Cowboys are clearly the class of the conference with the Seahawks climbing into the second spot. Russell Wilson looked as healthy as he has all season on Sunday night leading his team to an away-win over the Patriots. The Falcons have the offense to be in the elite class, but their defense is very suspect, and the Eagles defense was able to keep Atlanta’s offense down on Sunday.
The Vikings are in free-fall, allowing the Detroit Lions to take over the North division lead even though they were on a bye. And the Packers have totally imploded.
The Giants and Washington are clinging to the two wild card spots, making the NFC East look like it did in days of old.
If you want to get a glimpse of the new perception around the Cowboys, check out this blurb from the Sporting News.
That amazing win in Pittsburgh ensured their division lead would stay at three games with Philadelphia and Washington also winning. Based on what's left, including a rematch against a Giants team that beat them way back in Week 1, the Cowboys will be favored to run the rest of the table. It would be a major disappointment not to finish with this seed.
My, how the worm has turned.
The AFC playoff picture looks like this:
- Patriots (7-2, AFC East)
- Chiefs (7-2, AFC West)
- Texans (6-3, AFC South)
- Ravens (5-4, AFC North)
- Raiders (7-2, Wild Card)
- Broncos (7-3, Wild Card)
Wow, look at the strength of the AFC wild card teams. That conference has solid depth.