clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

One bright spot is that half of Cowboys remaining games are against the NFC East

If you are looking for some Cowboys hope, this is it.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The first quarter of the season is in the books for the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately they only have one win to show for all of their work. Most recently the Cowboys dropped a game that many thought they would win at the hand of the Cleveland Browns and did so in rather embarrassing fashion. The Browns scored 49 points against the Cowboys and had 31 of them in the first half. That is actually the most points that Cleveland has scored in the first half of a game since their return to the NFL in 1999.

If you were to extrapolate the 1-3 record, then the Cowboys would obviously wind up 4-12 on the year. This is unlikely to happen, but even if it did it is arguable that 4-12 could be enough to win the NFC East and that would be enough to guarantee Dallas a home playoff game.

Half of the Cowboys’ remaining games are against the NFC East

This conversation admittedly forces you to look at the current Cowboys through a glass-half-full sort of lens because things are bad at the moment, but they are far from out of the playoff picture.

The NFC East is bad. This isn’t said in a dramatic or hyperbolic way. The 2020 NFC East is literally among the worst divisions to ever play a season’s first four games in NFL history.

After four games, the NFC East is a combined 3-12-1. Since the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, there have been 344 divisional races. Philadelphia’s tie saved the 2020 edition of the NFC East from being the worst division in modern league history through four games.

Instead, this edition of the NFC East is merely the second-worst division of the past 50 years, coming in one-half game ahead of the 1984 AFC Central, which went a combined 3-13. Since the league went to its eight-division, 32-team format in 2002, no division had failed to combine for at least four wins across the first four weeks of the season before the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Washington joined up to be wasted by the rest of the league.

The NFC East boasts a mere 3.5 wins through the season’s first four games. Dallas obviously beat Atlanta (in a miracle effort at that), Philadelphia beat San Francisco on Sunday night, and Washington beat Philadelphia in the season opener. Not counting the Eagles’ tie with the Bengals, a third of the wins that this division has only exists because two of its teams played each other. This is true comedy.

There will of course be at least one more win added to this year’s NFC East total in theory as the Cowboys host the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon. This will be the first division game that Dallas plays this season which brings us to the lone point of optimism surrounding America’s Team at the moment... half of their remaining games are against NFC East teams.

Dallas has yet to play a division game this season which means they obviously have all six left. As there are 12 games to go on the year, half of them are against the teams that the Cowboys know best. It’s fair to assume the Cowboys win 4-5 of those games (remember... glass half full) and possibly even all six, which means they simply have to win maybe three of their other remaining six games.

As far as non-division games are concerned for the Cowboys they have contests left against some teams from both sides of the success spectrum:

Dallas will likely not get the 49ers team that the Eagles did on Sunday night so that game could be rather difficult; however, they should be able to beat teams like the Vikings and Bengals at the very least. If we give them 2-3 of these with 4-5 of their division games then we are talking about a team that should win 7-9 games between now and the end of the season which would give them 8-10 wins. That should theoretically be enough to win the gauntlet that is the NFC East in 2020.

Morale is low right now. I get it. But the season is far from over. This week will tell us a lot.