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NFL Playoff Scenarios: Cowboys Can Clinch Division & More This Weekend

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The Cowboys could have a very good weekend if things go right.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL franchise during the 2016 season to clinch a playoff berth. They are, at minimum, assured of a wild card spot in the NFC. But that’s not what they’re shooting for, not with an 11-1 record. They are going for the whole enchilada. And they could actually get it this weekend.

The first things they need to do, obviously, is beat the New York Giants on Sunday night. If they do that, they would clinch the NFC East with three games left in the season. That would be a remarkable feat. Even more incredible is they could also get a first-round bye and possibly even home-field advantage all the way through the playoffs with a little help.

The scenarios play out like this for Dallas.

Dallas clinches NFC East division with:

DAL win

Dallas clinches a first-round bye with:

  1. DAL win + DET loss or tie OR
  2. DAL win + SEA loss

Dallas clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

DAL win + DET loss or tie + SEA loss

So there you have it, three possible scenarios for the Cowboys this weekend.

Getting either the first-round bye or home-field advantage could be tough. Even if the Cowboys beat the Giants, the other two games need to go Dallas’ way. The Lions host the Bears at 1 ET on Sunday. The Bears are not exactly a formidable opponent and they are on the road. So the Lions should win. The Seahawks have a tougher task, traveling to Green Bay to face a desperate Packers team at 4:25 ET Sunday. That game has more possibility of going Dallas’ way than the Lions’ game.

If Dallas wins, Detroit wins and then Green Bay can beat the Seattle, Dallas will at least have locked up a first-round bye. Let’s just make sure to take care of business on Sunday night and wrap up the NFC East with a win over the Giants.