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Cowboys playoff picture: Dallas is officially the fourth seed, should starters play in New York?

The Cowboys will enter the game against New York with nothing to gain from winning.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys punched their ticket to the playoffs on Sunday when they locked up the NFC East by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A few hours later the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears defeated the San Francisco 49ers and in doing so locked the Cowboys into the NFC’s fourth seed. That much is decided.

Dallas will be the lowest-seeded division winner and play at home on wildcard weekend, obviously who they will host is to be determined. The thing about wildcard weekend though is that it’s two weeks away. The Cowboys still have to visit the New York Giants next week.

The Cowboys have nothing to play for in New York

There’s definitely something to be said about playing for pride, and a lot of people believe in playing to generate/keep momentum, but from a mathematical perspective nothing can be gained for the Cowboys next week. They are locked.

This raises a very famous question for situations like this... should the Cowboys rest or play their starters in a meaningless game? We polled BTB this past week and 53% would prefer for the Cowboys to indeed take the week off so to speak. It’s possible that some voters changed their tune but even then we’re almost split in half.

Plenty of things can go wrong when you roll the dice in a meaningless game but the biggest one is obviously an injury. The last thing you need as a team just about to enter the postseason is to lose somebody in what was literally a game where you could achieve nothing. If you need a reminder as to how quickly devastation can occur think back to early on in Sunday’s game when Tyrone Crawford went down with a scare (thankfully all looks well).

Things can change in an instant in the NFL and thanks to the way the cards fell the Cowboys have actually been afforded a bye week. They might be wise to use it, but Jerry Jones did say they wouldn’t “let up” against the Giants.

Which will it be? What would you do?

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