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NFL playoff picture: Here’s what you need to know about who the Cowboys could play in wildcard round

Cowboys fans need to watch two teams in Week 17.

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

Thanks to a win over Tampa Bay and the Chicago Bears win over San Francisco on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys are NFC East Champions and locked into the fourth seed in the NFC entering the playoffs.

Dallas being locked in with a week left in the regular season raises the question as to whether or not they should rest starters in Week 17, but right now we’re here to answer a different inquiry: Who are the Cowboys going to play in the wildcard round?!

The results of Sunday in Week 16 helped crystallize the playoff picture around the NFL and obviously within the NFC. As noted the Cowboys are the conference’s fourth seed which means that they will host the fifth in the wildcard round.

If the playoffs started today the Cowboys would host the Seattle Seahawks

Sunday night saw the Seattle Seahawks earn their sixth playoff trip in seven seasons and at the moment they are the team who would visit Dallas in the playoffs. It’s a bit poetic as it was Christmas Eve exactly one year ago that Earl Thomas chased down Jason Garrett after Dallas and Seattle played what was effectively a playoff game. The Seahawks won.

Seattle also defeated the Cowboys earlier this season, but that was a long time ago. Dallas didn’t have Amari Cooper nor was Leighton Vander Esch fully evolved under the full moon into his Wolf Hunter alter ego. Things would definitely be different in round two against the Seahawks, but to be fair the last actual playoff game against them didn’t go well (sorry).

The only other team Dallas can play in the first round is the Minnesota Vikings

There are two teams fighting for the NFC’s final playoff/wildcard spot and they’re the two squads who met for the conference’s crown last season, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Minnesota picked up another win on Sunday in Detroit and simply needs a win to lock up their spot in the tournament. This means that the Eagles are at a place where they are relying squarely on the shoulders of the Chicago Bears, and here’s why:

  • Philadelphia only gets in if they win AND the Vikings lose
  • Minnesota hosts the Bears in Week 17
  • The Eagles can ONLY be the NFC’s sixth seed

Due to the Seahawks win on Sunday night the Eagles, if they got in, could only enter as the sixth seed. This means that the Cowboys could not play Philadelphia in the first round. Dallas would play Seattle unless the Seahawks lose in Week 17 AND the Vikings win, then it would be Minnesota. That’s the only other potential outcome.

All of this will be decided on Sunday afternoon

Chicago still has a potential first-round bye to play for, but they need the Los Angeles Rams to lose on top of needing a win themselves. Philadelphia needs Chicago to want to win, or end up winning somehow, so they’re rooting for the Rams to give the Bears incentive to fight hard against the Vikings. The Eagles also need to win themselves. All of these games are happening on Sunday afternoon which will make for some great theater.

For the Cowboys it’s going to come down to Seattle or Minnesota. That’s it. If the Seahawks win, it’s Seattle. If they lose AND the Vikings win, it’s Minnesota. It’s going to be a fun ride.


Who would you rather the Cowboys play in the wildcard round?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Seattle Seahawks
    (1124 votes)
  • 70%
    Minnesota Vikings
    (2625 votes)
3749 votes total Vote Now

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