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Cowboys news: Dallas has clearer look at playoff picture after comeback vs. Eagles

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NFL: DEC 24 Eagles at Cowboys Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Have Cowboys proved they aren’t “Pretenders” for playoffs? - Tony Stahl, Inside The Star

The Cowboys beat Gardner Minshew, not Jalen Hurts, but their Week 16 win was still impressive.

I think many fans are starting to see the real strength of the Cowboys. While the team has its weak moments, they usually play with a lot of confidence and skill. This last game against the Eagles was one of the best performances I have seen from this Cowboy team in a long time.

The Cowboys are known for putting up high points on weaker teams, but after putting 40 points on the board against the best team in the NFL, that shows that something special is there. Right now, the Eagles are the 2nd favored team to win the Superbowl, right behind the Buffalo Bills.

Another strong point I see is with Quarterback Dak Prescott. After completely failing on his third pass of the game and throwing a pick-six, he came back on the field and played at his peak performance level.

I also can’t forget about how Wide Receiver CeeDee lamb was, 10 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns is very impressive. Ezekiel Elliott also had a good game with 55 yards and one touchdown.

‘It’s already playoff football’: Cowboys confident as contenders after beating Eagles - Todd Archer, ESPN

The Cowboys have two regular season games left to prove they’re playing their best before the playoffs.

Even though the Dallas Cowboys clinched a playoff spot after their overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15, Mike McCarthy was fixated on 11 wins.

To the coach, 11 wins establishes a team as a legitimate contender, whether as a division winner or as a wild card.

“I think our place is clear,” McCarthy said after the Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles 40-34 at AT&T Stadium on Christmas Eve to improve to 11-4.

With two regular-season games remaining, the Cowboys can be no worse than the fifth seed in the NFC. If they win their last two games and the Eagles lose their last two, the Cowboys would repeat as NFC East champions, and they would claim the No. 1 seed if the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers both lose one of their final two games.

QB Dak Prescott isn’t worried about a division title at the moment.

“I mean, we don’t necessarily control it, so for me it’s about worrying about what we can control,” he said. “That’s building momentum, stacking games on top of games, getting the confidence, getting everything we need to move forward that we feel like we’re hitting this stride as we hit the playoffs.

3 Takeaways from Cowboys’ Week 16 Win vs. Eagles - Jake Rill, Bleacher Report

If the Cowboys can continue to force turnovers and limit their own on offense, they’ll be a tough out the rest of the way.

The Cowboys Proved They Could Be a Threat in the Playoffs

It’s still highly unlikely the Cowboys will win a second consecutive NFC East title. The only way that can happen is if they win their final two games of the regular season (road matchups against the Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders) and the Eagles lose their last two (home contests against the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants).

But Dallas should be the top NFC wild-card team, which will make it the No. 5 seed. It will then have a favorable matchup to open the postseason, as it will then play the NFC South champion (likely the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are 7-8).

Even though the Eagles were without star quarterback Jalen Hurts in Week 16, the Cowboys still proved they’re capable of beating the conference’s top teams. Dallas also owns a victory over the Minnesota Vikings, who are the current No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Although the Cowboys have had some ups and downs this year, they’re a strong team, as they showed Saturday. If they can build momentum and continue to play like that, they may even make a deep run through the playoffs.

Dallas hasn’t advanced past the divisional round since it won the Super Bowl at the end of the 1995 season, so it’s overdue to make it deeper into the postseason.

3 struggling Cowboys who need a strong finish to the regular season - Joey Pollizze, The Landry Hat

Kelvin Joseph didn’t play a single snap on defense against the Eagles, with DaRon Bland and Nahshon Wright filling in well.

2. Second Cornerback Spot (Kelvin Joseph)

The second, outside cornerback spot is currently undecided as Dallas tries to find replacements for the injured Anthony Brown. That is why there is no specific player that needs to have a strong finish, but rather the whole cornerback room behind Trevon Diggs needs to step up.

As much as Anthony Brown allowed the big plays and wasn’t top-tier in the secondary this season, the Cowboys are surely missing his presence on the outside.

Kelvin Joseph has filled in for Brown in his absence and the second-year corner has struggled. On Sunday, Joseph was benched after allowing two touchdowns, including a 59-yard score by Zay Jones in which the corner got burned on a double move.

Leading up to the Eagles game on Saturday, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has come out and said that “the competition is up for that spot.”

Can Nahshon Wright, the 6-foot-4 corner, make a name for himself and step up and claim that role? Wright played a season-high 19 snaps vs Jacksonville, and had a handful of impactful moments against the Eagles.

Or will it be Trayvon Mullen, a former second-round pick that the Cowboys claimed off waivers just last week? Mullen hasn’t lived up to his draft status, but can Dallas give him the opportunity to thrive?

Either way, whether it’s Joseph, Wright, or Mullen opposite Diggs on the outside, the Cowboys will need one of those players to step up and run away with it. That position has been a soft spot for Dallas all season, and could be a major problem for them in the playoffs.

Cowboys are 9.5 point favorites over the Titans for Thursday night - Dave Halprin, Blogging the Boys

Is this too many points for the Cowboys second straight game against a backup quarterback?

Fortunately, they are playing a Titans team that is going in the wrong direction. As such, even though Dallas is on the road, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cowboys as 9.5-point favorites.

The Titans were once 7-3 on the season and one of the better teams. Since that time, they have lost five straight games, they lost their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to injury, and they have lost control of the AFC South. To make matters worse, they just dropped a home game to the Houston Texans (+4) by giving up nine unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Things could get even less ideal for the Titans in the contest. Head coach Mike Vrabel might rest some ailing players because the Cowboys game doesn’t mean anything to Tennessee.

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