Since the Dallas Cowboys play on Sunday night this week all of the presents from under the tree will have likely been opened before toe even meets the ball at AT&T Stadium.
The Cowboys did get to open one gift early on Thursday night as they officially clinched a playoff berth, but there are plenty of other things that can go there way to spread holiday cheer.
Dallas currently sits as the number two seed in the NFC with a division championship all but secured. It goes without saying that all of the wins that they can add will help their cause, but what about elsewhere across the NFL?
This week is a bit different as far as rooting interests are concerned. We have put together two graphics as far as what the Cowboys need to have happen.
Dallas Cowboys rooting interests related to the number one seed
A few things do need to happen for the Cowboys to win the NFC East without lifting a finger, we’ll get to them in just a minute, but our focus is obviously on goals well beyond that given the success that the Cowboys have had this year. Put simply, we want the number one seed.
Dallas only has the number two seed at the moment by virtue of a three-way tie that they are in with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. The former beat Dallas in Week 1 of this season so if it comes down to just the two of them the Buccaneers will top the Cowboys in seedings and since Dallas hosts Arizona next Sunday, the Cardinals cannot end the regular season in the three-way tie that has currently set up Dallas so well. We need another team to enter the logjam since Dallas will own the tiebreaker (which is conference record at that point) over all of them.
This all means that we either need the Los Angeles Rams to win out (which is why we are rooting for them this week) or the Green Bay Packers to drop a game (which would be awesome always). If either of these things happen and the Cowboys win out then Dallas will be, at minimum, the number two seed in the NFC.
You will note that we are also rooting for the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, and Miami Dolphins this week. A reminder that their first-round picks belong to the Philadelphia Eagles (Indy and Miami) and New York Giants (Chicago) so we want to see those be as low as possible.
Dallas Cowboys rooting interests related to securing the NFC East
While an Eagles loss (which is why we are rooting for the Giants) this week secures the NFC East for the Cowboys, there is another path to the team’s first division title since 2018. They only need 1.5 of the games here to go their way (obviously two wins is far more likely than a win and a tie).
Every single game here except for Raiders/Broncos takes place in the early window on Sunday which means that the Cowboys might have wrapped up the NFC East before they even enter the building for their own contest.
One of the things listed here that could help the Cowboys is a Minnesota Vikings win over the Los Angeles Rams, but as we mentioned above a Rams win helps the Cowboys more in the long-term towards the number one seed. This is about the war and not the battle.
It goes without saying that we will be paying a lot of attention to every game between now and Dallas’ own.