Now halfway through the 2022 NFL regular season, the playoffs are starting to become increasingly relevant to every discussion. While all games count equally, it’s not until midseason that we have a sense of which teams are still reasonably part of the picture and others that should already be preparing for the next draft.
The Cowboys are certainly in the thick of any postseason conversations right now. While trailing the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, Dallas’ 6-2 record and head-to-head tiebreaker over the New York Giants currently give them the top wild card spot in the conference.
If the playoffs started now, here is how the NFC’s side of the tournament would be seeded:
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-0 overall, 5-0 vs NFC)
- Minnesota Vikings (7-1 overall, 6-1 vs NFC)
- Seattle Seahawks (6-3 overall, 4-3 vs NFC)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5 overall, 4-2 vs NFC)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-2 overall, 5-2 vs NFC)
- New York Giants (6-2 overall, 3-2 vs NFC)
- San Francisco 49ers (4-4 overall, 4-2 vs NFC)
Remember, division winners get the top four seeds regardless of their overall record. So that’s how the Seahawks and Bucs leapfrog the Cowboys and Giants. Based on these current standings, Dallas would be headed to Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs.
Obviously, with teams still having eight or nine games left to play, these scenarios still have plenty of room for change. But from now through the regular-season finale, we’ll be digging into this every week to see where the Cowboys stand and what games on the schedule could reasonably impact their positioning.
Cowboys @ Packers
While Green Bay is unusually absent from the NFC’s playoff picture right now, this game still has high stakes both for Dallas’ overall and conference record. It’s also big as the Cowboys look to maintain momentum following their bye week and with tough upcoming matchups against the Vikings and Giants.
Additionally, nobody in the NFC will be sad to see Aaron Rodgers kept out of the playoffs. Hopefully, Dallas can shovel more dirt on the Packers’ coffin this week.
Commanders @ Eagles
Washington came up short in last week’s potential upset over the Vikings, but they can more than make up for it if they play the spoiler in Philly. The Cowboys catching the Eagles for the NFC East crown, and the potential top seed in the playoffs, means getting help from at least one other team along the way. Despite their weaknesses, the Commanders may be one of the better candidates left on the Eagles’ schedule.
Vikings @ Bills
If Philly does slip, Dallas doesn’t need Minnesota ruining its shot at the first-round bye and homefield advantage. We saw the Vikes nearly go down against Washington and now they face one of the AFC’s best in Buffalo. Hopefully, Bills QB Josh Allen doesn’t miss this one.
Texans @ Giants
Dallas would love some additional cushion between itself and New York in the standings. Staying in the fifth seed is becoming increasingly attractive as whoever wins the NFC South just might end up being the worst team in the entire NFC bracket.
Seahawks @ Buccaneers
There isn’t much here to push Cowboys fans one way or the other. Seattle is the better team right now, but do you really want to face Tom Brady in a playoff game? If you think the Bucs current tailspin isn’t going to end, then root for Seattle to keep them or whoever comes out of the NFC South as the fourth seed.
Chargers @ 49ers
San Francisco is hanging onto the seventh seed by its fingertips right now. The Falcons and Commanders are just behind them with 4-5 records. For Dallas, losses by any of these teams improve their odds of making the playoffs and clinching a wild card spot sooner than later.
Falcons @ Panthers
Again, losses by other wild card hopefuls like Atlanta can only help the Cowboys. While we’d love to see Dallas eventually catch the Eagles in the division, it’s much more likely that they’ll be taking the other road to the playoffs. The fewer teams vying for those wild card spots, the better.
Saints @ Steelers
While we are on the subject of assigning rooting interests, the Philadelphia Eagles own the New Orleans Saints’ first-round pick next year. So obviously we want that to be as low down in the order as possible.