If you remember from our Dallas Cowboys playoff rooting guide posted earlier today, three games were the focus in the early slate of contests. The Cowboys, and their fans, got favorable news from two out of the three games, and they got one they really needed.
More than anything, Dallas needed the Atlanta Falcons to lose, and they did, falling 14-9 to the Minnesota Vikings. The Falcons hold the tie-breaker over the Cowboys and they could have remained two games ahead of Dallas, but instead are only one game in front. If they lose two out of their last four, then the Cowboys can jump over them in the standings. The Falcons still have a brutal schedule left, with two games against the Saints, a game against the Panthers and one with the Bucs.
The Cowboys also got favorable news when the Baltimore Ravens knocked off the Detroit Lions 44-20. That leaves the Lions tied with Dallas at 6-6, but Detroit currently holds the common games tiebreaker. The Lions schedule is soft coming up, with the Bucs, Bears, and Bengals, then a Week 17 matchup with the Packers, who may or may not have Aaron Rodgers back.
Those Packers are the ones who prevented a clean sweep for Dallas in the early games when they somehow won a game against Tampa Bay they had no business winning. The Bucs killed themselves with turnovers and mistakes, losing a game in overtime that they should have won. The Packers have a tough finish to their schedule, with games against the Panthers and the Vikings sandwiched between games with the Browns and the Lions.
Given the Week 17 scenario with the Lions and Packers playing each other, one of those two teams is guaranteed another loss, which would allow Dallas an opportunity to jump ahead of the loser of that contest. Of course, all this means nothing if the Cowboys don’t win out, but until they lose, there’s still a chance.
Root for the Seahawks to lose tonight.