The Dallas Cowboys began Sunday morning with big aspirations. The day offered a path, albeit an unlikely one, towards them securing the top seed in the NFC. Heck, there was even a path where the bye went elsewhere but Dallas repeated as NFC East Champions which didn’t sound bad at all.
Those realities required losses from both the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers in the final week of the regular season. Neither of those came, but also absent from the cause was the win that the Cowboys were supposed to provide without issue. The problem is there were a lot of issues as the Cowboys fell to the Washington Commanders, and while their fate was sealed before then, it only added to the funk that will hover around the fan base for the next 24-48 hours.
However we got here, we have arrived. Dallas did not become the first team in the NFC East to repeat as the division’s winner since 2004. Instead they are the next-best thing, quite literally, as the top wild card in the conference and as a result they will visit the #4 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round.
The Cowboys met the Buccaneers in the opening week of the regular season in a game that they lost at home 19-3. It was the second straight year in which Dallas played the Bucs in the season opener as they did so in 2021, although that time in Tampa, a much more thrilling game that the Cowboys also lost (31-29).
Tom Brady is, of course, the quarterback of the Buccaneers and has a perfect record against the Cowboys throughout his time both in Tampa (2-0) and with the New England Patriots (5-0). This will be the first time that Dallas will meet him in the playoffs, though.
The NFL usually announces when each playoff game is happening throughout the final game of the regular season on Sunday Night Football so we may find out in just a few hours what day and time slot the Cowboys will be in.
Bring on the Buccaneers.