The Dallas Cowboys were shut out in Indianapolis and that’s very much not okay. We all know that.
It was the first loss for the Cowboys since the first week of November and to be quite honest we’d become spoiled over their five-game winning streak. Reality reared its ugly face on Sunday and that’s never a fun experience.
Through 14 weeks the Cowboys are sitting two games above .500 with an 8-6 record. Their next win clinches the NFC East and with Tampa Bay and the New York Giants left on it things are definitely looking up. Dallas can also clinch without playing a down before their next game if they get a loss from Philadelphia and Washington. Things aren’t bad at all.
It’s pretty obvious that the Cowboys came out flat in Indianapolis. They played like a team who knew there weren’t any consequences to losing, for crying out loud their playoff odds dropped to 97% thanks to the loss.
Red alert: The Cowboys odds to make the playoffs have dropped to 97%— Cowboys Stats & Holiday Cheer (@CowboysStats) December 16, 2018
What’s more is things around the NFC seem to have slightly worked in their favor in Week 15. While it would have been nice to pick up that loss from Washington the Cowboys can at least look towards the playoffs with certainty that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers won’t be in the field. Dancing in a kryptonite-less minefield sounds like fun.
While it certainly would have been nice for the Cowboys to jump to the third seed in the NFC that seems unlikely at this point. The Chicago Bears are winners of the NFC North and already have 10 wins. As this is the case it almost cements that Dallas will be the fourth seed as the NFC East winner (yes, I know, they haven’t won it yet but we’re talking about likelihoods) which means that their fate could be known much sooner than later.
This would afford the Cowboys a potential pseudo bye in Week 17. If Dallas does indeed wrap up the division by next week whether by their own accord or from help due to Eagles and Redskins losses they will very likely have nothing to play for in the regular-season finale. This was the case in 2014 and Jason Garrett still played starters quite a bit but with so many Cowboys battling injuries we could see them treat that game as a bye of sorts.
It’s quite possible that Dallas hosts the Seattle Seahawks in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs and they picked up a bit of help there as well on Sunday. San Francisco took down the Seahawks which makes Seattle have to play and hopefully eliminates their own ability to take a pseudo bye. When you couple all of that with the fact that Sunday was likely a case of the Cowboys counting some chickens before they hatch it’s easy to feel more optimistic than enraged.
Dak Prescott on the mood in the locker room: "If anything, we're all coming together, saying, 'Hey, in a way we needed this.' I don't know if we thought we were too hot to trot or whatever on our 5-game winning streak ... We just got to come together and clean it all up."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 16, 2018
The Cowboys played terribly against the Colts, no one is going to deny that. But the season is far from over and it definitely wasn’t anywhere close to an impediment on the season. It’s a wake up call at the right time and one the Cowboys earned the ability to have over the previous five weeks.