The Dallas Cowboys victory on Thursday night, and the results of certain games on Sunday, have reinvigorated the talk of the Cowboys actually making the playoffs. The possibility is there if Dallas can win out. Luckily, they will get some help along the way, because their immediate schedule is favorable. And that’s very good news, because the Cowboys only feast on mediocre or bad teams. Eventually though, they will have to beat a team with a current winning record.
The Cowboys have an even 6-6 record. At this moment, they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record. They have beat teams that had a winning record at the time of the game, like the Kansas City Chiefs, but as of today, none of the teams they have defeated has a winning record.
New York (2-10), San Francisco (2-10), Arizona (5-7), Washington (5-7), and Kansas City (6-6) make up their six wins. Next week they get the 2-10 Giants again. Then they get the 6-6 Raiders, the 8-4 Seahawks, and the 11-1 Eagles.
After playing the Giants, the Cowboys travel to Oakland. If the Cowboys are going to make the playoffs they will need to win out, so in that case they will be pinning another loss on the Raiders giving Oakland seven on the season, only one loss away from 8-8 and a non-winning record. It’s entirely possible Oakland finishes 8-8 or worse.
Then it will be the Seahawks. Fresh off their win over the Eagles, Seattle is 8-4. Will they have a winning record at the end of the year? In our playoff scenario they will have another loss courtesy of Dallas, giving them five on the year, and they still have to go on the road to 8-4 Jacksonville, and host the reborn 9-3 Los Angeles Rams. So it’s not out of the question to see them with seven losses, but it would take an Arizona upset in Week 17 for them to drop all four and reach 8-8. Seattle is likely to good of a team to drop four straight. So they will probably be the first team with a projected winning record at the end of the year that Dallas will beat if the Cowboys make the playoffs.
Then it’s the Eagles. We know they will finish with a winning record, so the Cowboys will have to beat at least one team with a winning record at the end of the year if they are going to make the playoffs. But that one could come with an asterisk, because the Eagles team they play and beat in this scenario might not really be the Eagles that has gone 10-2 so far. They could be resting most of their stars with nothing left to play for in the regular season, depending on how the last quarter of the season plays out.
We do know this, the Cowboys will have to beat at lest one team with a winning record at the end of the year if they want to make the playoffs. It could be more, but to this point the Cowboys have been beating the weaklings of the league. Even their “signature” win over the Chiefs has ended up looking a lot less signature now that Kansas City is falling apart. Sure, the Chiefs might right their season, but right now they are in free fall.
So you have to wonder if the Cowboys even make the playoffs what kind of team are they really. Against quality competition, the Cowboys haven’t been able to keep up, sometimes losing close games, sometimes losing badly.
Will things have changed by the time they reach the playoffs, if that happens? At that point, they would be on a five-game winning streak, and that kind of confidence can change a team. They could look more like their 2016 version, and that would be scary for the competition. They would have to beat a couple of quality teams, and they might have finally recaptured their mojo with Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee back in the picture.
Anything can happen once you make the tournament. Just get there, and let the chips fall where they may.