The Cowboys have clinched a playoff berth.
The Dallas Cowboys are headed back to the big dance. And they still have three weeks to improve their place in line.
The Cowboys’ 8-1 conference record ensured that they won’t fall below the seventh seed. Of course, they’re in prime position to be more than a wild card.
Holding a three-game lead in the NFC East, the Cowboys can clinch a division title in Week 16 through a multitude of ways, primarily via a win over the Washington Football Team or a Philadelphia Eagles loss to the New York Giants. Dallas last won the NFC East, and made the playoffs, in 2018 when they lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. A 6-1 start to the 2021 season under second-year coach Mike McCarthy put them on the fast track to end those mini droughts and legitimized preseason expectations.
As the Cowboys near their season’s end, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride - Matt Holleran, Blogging the Boys
Could this finally be the year?
If the Dallas Cowboys 2021 season was a flight, we’d be just about at the point where the pilot announces to the passengers to fasten their seatbelts for landing. It hasn’t been the smoothest of metaphorical “flights”, but this Cowboys team has flown higher than many expected.
Because they play in such a poor division, Dallas was the favorite to take home the NFC “least” crown, but face it, back in August plenty of people didn’t believe the Cowboys would be a double-digit win team. Contrary to popular belief, Dallas checked that off their goal list last Sunday with a win over New York
No one thought this defense, which was arguably the worst individual unit in football in 2020, could turn things around and become even league-average this season. But to much surprise, this defense has been the most overachieving unit in all of football, taking the ball away a league-high 31 times (tied with Indianapolis) and helping lead Dallas to a three-game winning streak in December.
Sure, things haven’t been all good. The Cowboys offense has not looked anything like the early-season unit that we saw score 30 or more points in four of their first six games. Dak Prescott, and other high-profile offensive stars, have really struggled in December, causing their offense to be stuck in rut.
But if I told you before the season that on December 24th, the Cowboys would be sitting at 10-4, holding the number two seed in the NFC and one win away from clinching the NFC East title, who wouldn’t have taken that?
Because they are the Cowboys things are always going to be nitpicked. If Dallas is not the last team standing in February, no matter what they did in the season, it won’t be good enough. Obviously winning the Super Bowl should be the ultimate goal, it’s why they play the game, but there can be a middle ground of appreciating something special while it’s happening.
The mothership gives their predictions for WFT @ DAL.
The Cowboys know they can clinch the NFC East with a win Sunday night. But there’s a good chance the division will be wrapped up before kickoff, depending on a few other games earlier in the day.
Either way, the Cowboys will be focused on beating Washington to stay near the top of the conference standings, with an eye on landing the No. 1 seed.
Can the Cowboys knock off Washington twice in three weeks?
Check out what are staff writers think will happen when the Cowboys take on WFT Sunday night.
Rob Phillips: If the Cowboys get a little help from scores around the league, they might clinch the NFC East before kickoff Sunday night. Either way, it’s clear that they’re motivated to take care of business. Beyond the division, the NFC’s top seed is a realistic goal if they keep winning, and I like them to win Sunday against a resilient Washington squad that has faced some real challenges with COVID cases and the schedule (flying back home early Wednesday morning from the Eagles game, then a quick turnaround to Dallas this weekend). The Cowboys are the more rested team, they’re looking forward to their first home game since Thanksgiving, and as we saw in the teams’ first meeting two weeks ago, the Dallas defensive line is a real problem for opponents.
David Helman: Thanks to the quirks of the NFL schedule, I don’t feel like I have to overthink this. We just saw this game two weeks ago, and the Cowboys were clearly a better team. Dak Prescott played one of his worst games of the season that day at FedEx Field, and the Cowboys still dominated the game for roughly 55 of 60 minutes. The teams are more or less the same as they were on Dec. 12, although Washington gets some help with Montez Sweat back in the lineup. That’s nowhere near enough for me to expect a different result than what we saw in Landover. The Cowboys’ pass rush is playing too well to give Taylor Heinicke a serious shot at success, and Washington’s ground game hasn’t looked explosive in a month. Combine that with the fact that the Cowboys have only been held below 30 points once in six home games, and I think this will be a fairly straightforward game. Dallas puts the finishing touch on a division title with a 34-17 win on Sunday night.
Pre-Christmas Power Rankings!
The 2021 NFL season is drawing near to a close and the biggest holiday of the year is finally here. Merry Christmas, Dallas Cowboys fans! Your Cowboys have officially earned a playoff berth, which is a wonderful gift in itself.
Today, I be unveiling my third and final holiday power rankings. If you missed either of the other two previous editions, you can catch up by reading the Halloween and Thanksgiving articles by clicking on the links.
Aside from the early Christmas gift provided to Dallas by San Francisco losing, we also learned earlier this week that five Cowboys were named to the Pro Bowl. Offensive linemen Zack Martin and Tyron Smith will join linebacker Micah Parsons, cornerback Trevon Diggs and punter Bryan Anger on the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Defensive end Randy Gregory was also named as an alternate, meaning a sixth Cowboy could make the team.
As if all this good news was not enough, Dallas will head into Sunday Night Football on NBC with a chance to clinch the NFC East and hold on to their current No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture. While the Cowboys can clinch before the game even starts, they will definitely want to continue the three-game winning streak they are on and enter the cold month of January hot.
As for the rest of the league, where do the rest of the 31 teams stand? Well, what better way to find out than some arbitrary power rankings!
So, without any further ado, as you come down from your high of opening presents and knocking back egg nog, let’s see how the league is stacking up during this festive time.
Cowboys add CB Jourdan Lewis, WR Simi Fehoko to Reserve/COVID-19 list - Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News
Cowboys add two to Covid-list heading into week 16.
Two more Cowboys players were added Friday to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Nickel cornerback Jourdan Lewis and rookie wide receiver Simi Fehoko learned on Christmas Eve they all but certainly won’t play Sunday. Fehoko was held out of practice Thursday because of symptoms. He didn’t test positive until Friday.
Lewis’s status should produce more opportunities for cornerback Kelvin Joseph. The rookie second-round pick has played 14 defensive snaps compared to 127 on special teams. One of those 14 was at nickel.
Likewise, in the preseason, Joseph played 95 cornerback snaps. One came at nickel.
While matchups can influence how the Cowboys arrange and certainly scheme their back end, Joseph’s usage to date would strongly suggest Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown will remain the team’s base starters outside. In the nickel defense, Brown would move inside to replace Lewis, as Joseph would fill in for Brown outside.
Rookie third-round pick Nahshon Wright and special teams ace C.J. Goodwin are the other cornerbacks on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. They have played five and zero snaps on defense in 2021, respectively.
Cowboys defense is the ____ best in the NFL?
There were several questions surrounding the Dallas Cowboys defense entering the season. A coordinator change and the addition of several players provided some optimism. Still, very few could have predicted the defense playing this well.
The Cowboys have one of the best defenses in football as we inch closer to the playoffs. Dallas is creating turnovers at a rapid rate and have two of the best defenders of the season on the team:
Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. Parsons is in the hunt for Defensive Player of the Year honors as a rookie, while Diggs has grabbed a whopping 10 interceptions with three more regular season games left to play. That duo has played a key role in the defense emerging in a big way.
Additionally, the Cowboys defensive line is healthy at the right time. Dan Quinn gets to utilize DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory off the edge. Neville Gallimore is finally healthy. Osa Odighizuwa is performing at a strong level in year one. Then, of course, there is Parsons playing some on the edge, too.
Dallas finally has a pass rush that can change and take over games. That, in turn, makes it easier on Diggs and the Cowboys’ secondary. Everything is coming together for the Cowboys heading into the postseason.
Blogging The Boys Podcast Network and YouTube Channel
We offer a different show every single day on the Blogging The Boys podcast network.
- Monday: CowboysCast with Bobby Belt
- Tuesday: The 75O with Tony Casillas and RJ Ochoa
- Wednesday: The NFC East Mixtape with RJ Ochoa and Brandon Gowton
- Wednesday: Talkin’ The Draft with Connor Livesay, Cole Patterson, and Dalton Miller
- Thursday: Ryled Up with Roy White and Tom Ryle
- Friday: Girls Talkin ‘Boys with Kelsey Charles and Meg Murray
- Saturday: Cowboys Hoy with Mauricio Rodriguez
- Sunday: Jersey Boyz with Dave Sturchio, Bret Ernst, and Keith Ernst
We also offer daily episodes of Dallas Cowboys Roundup where we give you that day’s latest headlines so that you always stay caught up. Consider it an audio version of the links, and every episode is 10 minutes or less so you can catch up in a hurry.
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