Sunday, December 29th, 2019.
The Cowboys kicked off Week 17 with a chance to win the NFC East and make the 2019 playoffs. All they needed to do was beat division rival Washington in AT&T Stadium, but they also needed some help. Kicking off later in the day, the New York Giants hosted the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife, and the Cowboys needed a Giants victory to help push them into the playoffs.
The Cowboys handled their business with ease, beating Washington 47-16, but unfortunately the New York Giants did NOT help out the Cowboys, and Philadelphia would go on to win the NFC East. Sound familiar?
Just over a year later, the Cowboys are in almost an identical situation heading into the final week of the 2020 season.
While the Cowboys have a good chance to win the NFC East in 2020, due to Washington’s injuries at quarterback and wide receiver, they will need (yet again) another division rival to do some dirty work for them. Philadelphia heads into Week 17 as one of the leagues most injured teams. In their first practice of Week 17, Philadelphia designated these players as DNP’s (did not practice) ahead of Sunday Night Football; Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett, Jordan Mailata, DeSean Jackson, Dallas Goedert, Shaun Bradley, Quez Watkins, Richard Rodgers, and Michael Jacquet. While that doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys, Washington is dealing with a handful of impactful injuries as well. Washington designated; Jonathan Allen, Alex Smith, Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Thomas Davis Sr., and Wes Schweitzer as non-participants in practice as well.
While none of the teams in the NFC East are very good, one of them will make the playoffs, and given the Cowboys won a handful of games down the stretch, and “won” themselves out of a premium draft pick, most fans seem to want the Cowboys to get into the dance and see what can happen.
The best case scenario’s here are pretty simple, the Cowboys win their game against the Giants, and the Washington Football Team drops their Sunday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but that’s not the only best case scenario. If the Cowboys lose, it isn’t all bad either. They could work themselves back into the top 10 of the NFL draft if given some help around the league. While it’s not the outcome we would want, it’s also not a terrible one, either.
As far as worst case scenario’s go, there’s only one, and it’s the same one that happened in Week 17 of 2019. The Cowboys handle their business, win a divisional game, build up some confidence, and then get disappointed when the Football Team handles their business later on Sunday. That would take the Cowboys further away from premium players in the NFL draft, and have them missing the playoffs yet again.
If you’re a Cowboys fan rooting for a playoff run, cross your fingers that the Eagles get healthy enough to win a home game against Washington, and that Jason Garrett continues to call plays for the New York Giants.