Last week wasn’t kind to the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they lose their own game to the Green Bay Packers, but several other NFC matchups swung the wrong way for Dallas’ odds of making the 2022 playoffs and having the best seeding possible. Thankfully, the Washington Commanders stunned the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night to put a little positivity back into Week 10. While the Cowboys slid in the wild card race, their hopes of still winning the NFC East weren’t crushed thanks to that big upset.
The Week 11 schedule presents another slate of opportunities for Dallas to either be helped or hurt by the results. Before we dig into the various matchups and how they could affect the Cowboys, here’s a look at the current standings for the seven potential playoffs teams:
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-1 overall, 5-1 vs NFC)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-1 overall, 6-1 vs NFC)
- Seattle Seahawks (6-4 overall, 4-4 vs NFC)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5 overall, 5-2 vs NFC)
- New York Giants (7-2 overall, 3-2 vs NFC)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-3 overall, 5-3 vs NFC)
- San Francisco 49ers (5-4 overall, 4-2 vs NFC)
Dallas slipped to the sixth seed, which means they would face the third-seeded Seattle Seahawks if the playoffs started now. Some might actually see that as a better opponent than facing Tom Brady and the Bucs in the 4/5 matchup. But there’s still a lot of time before we’ll know exactly who to fear most.
Let’s get into those Week 11 games:
Cowboys @ Vikings
What’s interesting here is that a Dallas win actually helps Philadelphia, who has now dropped into a tie with Minnesota for the number-one seed. The Eagles hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings from earlier this year, but now that is the only thing keeping them in the NFC’s top spot.
Obviously, the Cowboys winning is more important than any potential boon to a rival. It’s Philly fans who have the tough rooting decision to make on this one.
Eagles @ Colts
Dallas fans don’t even have to think about this one. It’s generally rare that a win by an AFC team would have an adverse effect, and certainly not here as the Cowboys need every Eagles loss they can get. Was Monday’s loss an anomaly against another NFC East rival, or could it be the start of a different kind of streak for Philadelphia?
Lions @ Giants
It’s too early to worry about being the fifth or the sixth seed; the Cowboys just need as much cushion as they can get toward an eventual playoff spot. The Lions are barely breathing at 3-6 and are unlikely to be a factor later. Plus, less momentum for the Giants going into Thanksgiving wouldn’t hurt.
49ers @ Cardinals
There are a few reasons to root against San Francisco here. As the current seventh seed, their loss would improve the Cowboys' odds of staying in the wild card picture. It would also help teams like the Commanders, Falcons, and Cardinals to push for a playoff spot and perhaps weaken the field.
And, odd as it may sound, doesn’t part of you want to see all four NFC East teams make the playoffs? How amazing would that be?
Commanders @ Texans
No, mathematically there’s no real benefit to Dallas if Washington wins this one. And really, if the Cowboys do wind up as a wild card team, the 49ers probably have a better shot at knocking off one of the division winners in the first round. But, something about having our entire division qualify for the tournament is a novelty you just can’t ignore.
Titans @ Packers
Tonight’s game offers no conflict; Green Bay needs to get back to losing. The last thing Dallas wants is for last Sunday to spark a revival for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They’re not a team we want to see again this year.
Rams @ Saints
Like the Packers, the Rams are a team we don’t need finding themselves and making a late-season surge. Plus, a Saints win helps diminish their 2023 first-round pick that belongs to the Eagles. A New Orleans victory is a win-win for the Cowboys.