The Dallas Cowboys are going to host the Philadelphia Eagles this Saturday on Christmas Eve. Even though the game has taken a bit of a hit with the playoff positioning of both teams, and the injury status of Jalen Hurts, at the end of the day it is still the Cowboys and Eagles.
As fate would have it, Saturday will mark the ninth home game of the season for the Cowboys. It is still weird to consider there being 17 games in the regular season as opposed to 16, but thanks to our new normal that began last year, every other year the Cowboys will have nine home games as opposed to eight (this was the first time).
You can likely discern then that this week is the final home game of the regular season for the Dallas Cowboys, which is significant given that they are in all likelihood going to be the top wildcard team in the playoffs as opposed to the winner of the NFC East (we broke down all of this week’s playoff scenarios here).
That’s right. Saturday is likely it for this season.
It would take an awful lot for the Cowboys to play another home game this season
The final two weeks of the regular season will see the Cowboys play on the road (at Tennessee and Washington) and then, as they will likely be a wild card team, they will visit a team in the playoffs.
Everything at this stage is a likelihood and a more-probable-than-not sort of thing what with nothing being clinched except for the fact that the Cowboys are a playoff team. Living in the more probable scenario where they are the #5 seed in the NFC Playoff Picture, there is a path to them hosting another game, although it is an admittedly long one.
It goes without saying that for Dallas to play more playoff games that they would have to, well, win some playoff games. Cue the jokes and memes about how they haven’t in forever.
Say that the Cowboys do somehow make it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, though. It is technically possible for them to host a playoff game at that stage even as a wild card team.
This season marks the third in which there have been three wild card teams as opposed to two, and we have yet to see a #7 seed win a playoff game. If that happened then they would automatically visit the top seed of the conference (likely the Philadelphia Eagles) but if the other two wild card teams won (including the Cowboys) that would make for a rather interesting Divisional Round.
Interestingly the current wild cards in the NFC are all NFC East teams, so this scenario would see them all moving through. Using the current playoff picture in the NFC, that would set up a Divisional Round comprised entirely of the division where the Eagles would host the Commanders and the Cowboys would host the Giants. Obviously if the Commanders beat the Eagles and the Cowboys made it through the mighty Divisional Round then Dallas would host the NFC Championship Game.
There is another way that Dallas could host another game, thought but it would not come until the title game. If (using our current playoff picture) the Cowboys and only of the lower-seeded wild cards made it through the first round, Dallas would have to travel in the second. But if they and the other wild card team both survived again, then the Cowboys would host the NFC Championship Game as mentioned.
There are a lot of ifs in this hypothetical but they are simply the potential realities of our current moment. The next month will be rather interesting.