The Dallas Cowboys start December 2016 with the best record in the National Football League and much has already been made about Dallas clinching a playoff berth over the weekend as they watched their NFC East compatriots fall. The Cowboys will continue to garner national attention with four straight games on primetime television (including last week’s win in Minnesota). Let’s take a look at how the Cowboys will fare the rest of the way out.
December 11th at New York
In many ways, this game will determine how aggressive or well-rested the Cowboys will be heading into the playoffs this year. The Giants had been rolling past opponents lately and winning the close games, a feat they were unable to achieve in recent years. That ended with their loss to Pittsburgh. This will be Dak’s first cold (and possible snowy) game of his career and it will show as the experienced Manning makes it look easy in the first half against a depleted Cowboys secondary. Eventually, the ‘Boys settle in and Zeke and the Big Uglies take over in the second half. In a nail-biter typical of recent Cowboys/Giants duels, the Giants pull off the upset win with another Dwayne Harris kickoff return for the game winning score. The Giants remain in position to secure a wild card spot in the playoffs as Dallas looks to start a new winning streak.
December 18th Against Tampa Bay
Jameis Winston is maturing into a talented quarterback and is in playoff contention for the first time in his career. You know that Mike Evans circled this homecoming game before the season even started. However, the Bucs simply do not have the talent to match up with the superior Cowboys during this matchup. Dallas has a convincing win after last week’s disappointment with a career-best five touchdown day from Dak Prescott as the starters rest the fourth quarter.
December 26th Against Detroit
Another former Dallasite comes into town as Matthew Stafford brings the Lions into Dallas for a Christmas weekend showdown. The last time Stafford played in Cowboys Stadium, he led one of the most improbable comebacks in franchise history. Fortunately for the Dallas secondary, Calvin Johnson will be watching from home this time around. Ultimately, Dallas settles in and narrowly beats a surging Lions team to finish off with their best regular-season home record in Jerry World at 7-1. This win holds extra special meaning as it clinches the top seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time since the early 1990s.
January 1st Against Philadelphia
While Week 17 has presented great heartbreak to Cowboys fans over the years, this game has no bearing as Dallas already locked up the top seed, while the Eagles have already checked out after another pathetic season. Even in light of this, Jason Garrett pulls a Bill Belichick and rides his starters to a narrow win to finish off the season with their best record in franchise history at 14-2.