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Cowboys playoff tracker: How loss to Broncos affects Cowboys' playoff chances

Dropping to 1-1 is not a good thing, but that doesn't mean the Cowboys are out of playoff contention.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Isn't it too early to look at playoff chances after just two weeks? Not really.

Because of the short NFL season with just 16 games, every game carries an inordinate weight in determining a team's playoff odds. That brevity of the NFL season also means that if you open the season with two consecutive wins, you've already created some separation en route to the postseason. Similarly, if you start with two losses, you'll be out of the playoff race pretty fast.

The Cowboys won their season opener, but the loss in Denver on Sunday put a dent in their playoff odds. We saw in last week's playoff tracker that since realignment in 2002, 50% of the teams that started the season 1-0 advanced to the playoffs. The Cowboys had a (theoretical) chance to improve to 2-0, which would have put their historic playoff odds at 58%. Instead, they are now 1-1 with 41% playoff odds.

That doesn't mean the Cowboys are out of the playoff race, even if some would have you believe that on Overreaction Monday. The Cowboys next travel to Arizona, and then play the Rams and Packers in successive weeks in Dallas before they hit their bye week.

At that point, the Cowboys could have a 4-1 record, a 1-4 record, or anything in between. The graph below illustrates how the Cowboys' playoff odds can change based on the results of the next three games:

Playoff Odds Week 1-5

The Cowboys currently sit at 1-1 with 42% historical playoff odds. A win next week moves them to 2-1 and 51% odds, a loss puts them at 1-2 and 26% odds. After Week 5, their odds could be as high as 78% and as low as 8%.

We'll continue monitoring the Cowboys' playoff chances every week, and it would sure be nice if we could talk about a 2-1 record after next week.