The Dallas Cowboys are almost in the playoffs, but nothing is set in stone. Naturally this produces the “WE’RE NOT IN YET” screams from those that have been scarred before.
It’s true that Dallas has burned fans when victory was in sight, but it’s also true that things would have to go wrong in an unprecedented fashion for them to not be a postseason team this season (again, totally understand you’ve been hurt by them). Even if you are already willing to believe the Cowboys are a playoff team there are still things yet to accomplish.
Welcome back to our official weekly rooting guide here at BTB. Here’s what we want to happen for the sake of the cowboys playoff chances and all the surrounding details.
Let’s be clear that some of these are far more important than the others. We want the Bills to beat the Lions, Ravens to beat the Buccaneers, and Cardinals to beat the Falcons, but the world won’t end if these things don’t happen. We just want the really bad teams to take down the bad ones for the purpose of equalizing the bad (thank goodness that’s beneath us).
Another game of low importance is the Giants hosting the Titans. New York has done a great job at ruining the first-round draft pick that would have landed them an heir to Eli Manning. They should go ahead and keep on ruining it by winning. They’re far enough out of contention that it doesn’t matter.
Obviously the Cowboys are the most important win to get on this list, but there are others that are of serious value. Minnesota is hosting the Dolphins on Sunday and while normally we’d root for an AFC team over an NFC one there are different things to consider here.
This overall rooting guide could be different for you in general if you want the Cowboys to face a certain team in the playoffs, but we’re putting it together with the hopes of achieving the best possible things for them. As of now the highest and most attainable thing (in the world of practicality) is the third seed in the NFC. Minnesota is vying for a playoff spot and will face the Chicago Bears in Week 17 of the regular season. As Cowboys fans we need the Vikings to be as relevant as they can be throughout the regular season at the very least so that their final game can hold meaning and that they can win it and hopefully knock down the Bears.
It goes without saying this is why we are rooting against Chicago, but it’s also understandable if you want to root for Green Bay. While that sounds absurd there is a world where the Packers find a way to sneak into the playoffs. Green Bay’s final two games are against the Jets and Lions so it goes without saying that the Bears are their toughest opponent remaining on the schedule. If you’re willing to risk the three seed in the NFC in the name of eliminating the Packers from postseason contention then I totally get that.
Our final hope in the early window of games will be for the Jaguars to find a way to take out the Redskins. Dallas can also clinch the NFC East with one more loss from both the Eagles and Redskins. Let’s go ahead and get that taken care of too, shall we?
AFTERNOON GAMES: 49ers
The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers comprise 50% of the afternoon window in Week 15 and if you feel the inclination to root against one of these teams no one is going to stop you. The reality though is that they don’t influence the playoff potentials for the Cowboys one way or the other which is why we’ve left them off. Go Pats for me, though.
Back to serious matters, the San Francisco 49ers will play host to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. It’s looking more and more like the Cowboys could draw Seattle in the wildcard round of the playoffs but that could change between now and then obviously. Seattle does have a bit of a lead as far as the other wildcard contenders and even if they’re going to be the five seed it wouldn’t hurt to have them have to work for it. The last thing we want if we are indeed going to square off against the Seahawks is for them to be firmly entrenched in the five seed before the regular season ends which would give them the ability to rest starters and the like.
The Rams are playing the Eagles. Pretty simple.
Week 15’s final contest will feature the New Orleans Saints traveling to take on the Carolina Panthers. If you’re wanting the Cowboys to get the three seed then odds are you likely believe it’s possible that Dallas could catch New Orleans for the two seed (hey, technically it is possible). That means we need some Saints losses.
What’s more is that a Panthers win keeps the NFC wildcard race all the more spicy. As the Cowboys are likely division winners we want as much chaos and disruption among those scratching and clawing for wildcard spots. Wear yourselves out.
Official Week 15 rooting guide
|Time||Away team||Home Team||Result|
|1:00 PM||Tennessee (7-6)||N.Y. Giants (5-8)|
|1:00 PM||Miami (7-6)||Minnesota (6-6-1)|
|1:00 PM||Washington (6-7)||Jacksonville (4-9)|
|1:00 PM||Dallas (8-5)||Indianapolis (7-6)|
|1:00 PM||Oakland (3-10)||Cincinnati (5-8)||N/A|
|1:00 PM||Green Bay (5-7-1)||Chicago (9-4)|
|1:00 PM||Detroit (5-8)||Buffalo (4-9)|
|1:00 PM||Tampa Bay (5-8)||Baltimore (7-6)|
|1:00 PM||Arizona (3-10)||Atlanta (4-9)|
|4:05 PM||Seattle (8-5)||San Francisco (3-10)|
|4:25 PM||New England (9-4)||Pittsburgh (7-5-1)||N/A|
|SNF||Philadelphia (6-7)||L.A. Rams (11-2)|
|MNF||New Orleans (11-2)||Carolina (6-7)|