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The Dallas Cowboys can effectively put their regular season on ice with a win on Sunday

The Cowboys are on the precipice of making the playoffs in 2021.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have bigger goals than reaching the playoffs. Nobody is going to sit here and celebrate playing a mid-January game as the ultimate prize for a team that has been searching for their sixth Super Bowl since the mid-90s. We all want to see the Cowboys accomplish great things in the postseason, but at the risk of sounding cliché, you have to get there first.

Based on what Dallas needs to secure a playoff berth throughout Week 15 (see the list right here) it is unlikely that they do so over the next couple of days. Reality is that the Cowboys will likely have to wait until Week 16 for full confirmation that they will be one of the 14 teams in the NFL’s coveted tournament, but they can earn a spot in it for all intents and purposes this week.

The way that Dallas can just about punch their playoff ticket this week is with a win against the New York Giants, who they are 10.5-point favorites over, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, Victory in New York (New Jersey, whatever) would make it 10 on the season and create a world where the possibilities of not making the playoffs would be completely microscopic.

It is true that the Cowboys offense is struggling right now and that is obviously a reason for some concern. For what it’s worth, SB Nation Reacts users feel pretty good about the direction that the team is headed in these days as evidenced by this week’s data, and that obviously includes the last month and change where the offense hasn’t exactly been on fire.

The Cowboys will probably not be the top team in the NFC with the only first-round bye, but a win on Sunday just about puts them in the place that you want to be when the season starts with multiple weeks to properly get right before it starts taking place for real.

For the team to to know that they are postseason-bound, with three weeks left to properly calibrate themselves to be as perfect as possible can be for the playoffs is a bit of a luxury. This is the type of benefit that comes with winning on Sunday. So let’s all hope that it happens and we can start figuring out how exactly to end the all-discussed drought.

Here are the exact scenarios for the Cowboys on Sunday:

DALLAS COWBOYS (9-4) (at N.Y. Giants (4-9)

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

  1. DAL win + WAS-PHI tie OR
  2. DAL win + WAS loss + DAL clinches strength-of-victory tiebreaker over PHI

Dallas clinches playoff berth with:

  1. DAL win + NO loss or tie OR
  2. DAL win + SF loss OR
  3. DAL tie + MIN loss or tie + NO loss or tie + ATL loss or tie OR
  4. MIN loss + ATL loss + NO loss + PHI-WAS tie OR
  5. MIN loss + ATL loss + NO loss + DAL clinches strength-of-victory tiebreaker over PHI

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.