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Dallas Cowboys Playoff Picture: Dallas needs to start paying very close attention to NFC South race

It is starting to feel inevitable the Cowboys will land in the fifth seed and face the NFC South.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys lost on Sunday afternoon. Losing in general sucks, but what is particularly annoying about this Cowboys loss is that it all but erases their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.

Technically speaking, the Cowboys could win the division but it would take them winning out and Philly losing out. Obviously that is unlikely.

We discussed everything from Sunday’s loss on the latest episode of The Postgame on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

The Eagles can clinch the division with their next win or the next Cowboys loss. Both could happen simultaneously on Christmas Eve, a game that Dallas is favored in interestingly enough, but with three weeks left in the regular season, the playoff implications of Saturday’s matchup between the rivals has dissipated some thanks to Sunday’s Cowboys loss. Even if the Cowboys beat the Eagles on Saturday, the overwhelming likelihood is that Philly wins the division and Dallas is the top seeded wild card team.

That means one thing - we need to start paying very close attention to the NFC South.

It is more likely than not that the Cowboys are going to visit the NFC South winner in the Wild Card Round

At the time of this writing, the New York Giants are leading the Washington Commanders in the first half of Sunday night’s game. If the Giants hold on to win, that puts the Dallas Cowboys officially in the playoffs.

Living off of that for a moment, if the Cowboys defeat the Eagles on Saturday and the Giants lose to the Minnesota Vikings, then the NFC East remains un-clinched. While that would be true, all Philadelphia would have to do would be to win either of their final two games (both at home) against the New Orleans Saints or the Giants to do it. Additionally, any Cowboys loss would lock the division up for the birds.

But if those things do happen then the non-division winner between the Cowboys and Eagles would be locked into the five seed within the NFC playoff picture and that team is guaranteed to visit the winner of the NFC South as of Week 15’s results (Tampa Bay leads the division with six wins and trails the next-closest division leader by four with three games to go).

If the Buccaneers lose another game (which is certainly possible) then the NFC South winner is guaranteed to have a record below .500 like the NFC East did in 2020. Incidentally, the Washington Commanders (then the Football Team) won the East that year and hosted the Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round as Tampa marched on to their Super Bowl LV victory.

NFC South standings through Week 15

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers................. 6-8, 3-1 in division
  2. Carolina Panthers.......................... 5-9, 3-1 in division
  3. New Orleans Saints....................... 5-9, 2-3 in division
  4. Atlanta Falcons.............................. 5-9, 1-4 in division

As you can see it is still a fairly tight (and pathetic) race. It is often said that all you have to do is get a ticket into the playoffs to have a chance, and the odds would heavily favor Dallas against any of them.

Truth be told, it is difficult to figure out who is going to win the NFC South when it is all said and done. But the point for us as Cowboys fans now is to pay very close attention to it because it is more likely than anything else that we will see the winner in a month.

NFC South teams’ remaining schedule

  • Buccaneers: at ARI, CAR, at ATL
  • Panthers: DET, at TB, at NO
  • Saints: at CLE, at PHI, CAR
  • Falcons: at BAL, ARI, TB

We have bolded the games within the division for each team and as you can see there are still three remaining which will have a significant impact one way or another. It certainly helps Tampa Bay that they will catch a fading Cardinals team to give them even more room for error in the divisional race.

We can sit and debate which matchup would suit the Cowboys best, but it goes without saying that visiting Tom Brady’s team in the playoffs will never feel safe regardless of how bad they may look. Ideally, any non-Buccaneers team would find a way to win this thing, but whoever does will in all likelihood be hosting the Cowboys in the Wild Card Round.


Which NFC South team would you prefer win the division for the Cowboys to likely face in the Wildcard Round?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    (296 votes)
  • 33%
    Carolina Panthers
    (430 votes)
  • 9%
    New Orleans Saints
    (123 votes)
  • 33%
    Atlanta Falcons
    (427 votes)
1276 votes total Vote Now

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