When the Dallas Cowboys went into their bye week with a 2-3 record after a gut-punch loss to the Green Bay Packers, the playoffs were something far off in the distance. The team had just blown two winnable games in a row, things were looking grim and the specter of an Ezekiel Elliott suspension was always on the horizon. Today, the Cowboys are riding a three-game winning streak to a 5-3 record and a spot as the sixth and final team in the NFC playoff standings. There is still the possible Zeke suspension looming, but as of right now things are looking so much better.
Not only are the Cowboys holding down the sixth playoff spot in the NFC, they are the only NFC team that made the playoffs last year that would make it back this year if the season ended today. Last year, the NFC playoff participants were the Giants, Packers, Lions, Seahawks, Falcons and Cowboys. This year it would be the Cowboys plus the Eagles, Saints, Vikings, Rams, and Panthers.
The Cowboys were able to hold on to the sixth spot in the playoff standings thanks to the Lions beating the Packers on Monday night. They are currently ahead of the Seahawks because of their superior conference record, but before the season ends there will be a head-to-head tie-breaker between the two when the teams meet on December 24th.
Of course, there are plenty of games left to be played. Injuries can always occur, and that Zeke suspension thing is unsettled. Still, given the struggles of the first half of the season, it feels incredibly good that the Cowboys are in control of their destiny. Now, they just need to keep winning and that starts with Atlanta this Sunday.
The current playoff seeding in the NFC:
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)
- New Orleans Saints (6-2)
- Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
- Los Angeles Rams (6-2)
- Carolina Panthers (6-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
The current playoff seeding in the AFC: