We have yet to reach Halloween but plans and preparations are always getting made for deeper into the calendar year. Consider that I myself have recently decided that I’m going to smoke my family’s Thanksgiving turkey this year, I recognize you were all very curious.
As it relates to the Dallas Cowboys though, we are always doing our best to focus on things one week at a time, but it is hard not to look all the way down at the end of the regular season in parallel. Idle hands during the bye week allow for this to happen a bit more easily and as we emerge from the week off it is with eyes fixed upon playing January and (ideally) February football.
The Cowboys currently hold a 4-2 record and are favored to add another before Halloween fully reaches us. But on the subject of favorites and projections, what does their future well beyond that hold?
Right now the Cowboys easily project to be a playoff team
There are 13 teams in the NFL who have at least four wins through seven weeks, obviously some of them have had their bye like Dallas, but soon enough we will start to see some separation here.
For the Cowboys to reach the postseason this season you would assume that they would have to win at least 10 or 11 games meaning that they have to win 6-7 of their remaining 11 contests. As noted, they are favored to win their next immediate one.
The fine folks at FTN Fantasy track playoff odds as the season goes along and prior to Week 7’s Monday night contest believed that the Cowboys will win 10-11 games, almost on the dot at 10.5 even. Dallas’ mean wins here at 10.6 and they have an 85.3% projection of reaching the playoffs with the most likely path in being as the top Wild Card team in the conference as they were last season.
Obviously how the Cowboys fare against the Philadelphia Eagles will go a long way in this overall conversation. The first meeting between the two happens to be Week 9 on Sunday night which will offer quite the week of build-up. But even then that is just one game across the season as a whole.
Looking at it from today, the Cowboys are likely going to be favored in most of their remaining games this season. Consider that they are 4-2 against the spread this season (coincidentally) with one loss coming both as a favorite (the Arizona Cardinals game) and underdog (obviously the San Francisco 49ers contest).
If you had to guess, how many times do you think Dallas will be favored across the rest of the season? Obviously assuming no radical changes and/or differences.
We know that they are favored against the Los Angeles Rams. I’d imagine the only times they will be underdogs are at Philadelphia, at Buffalo and potentially at Miami. The Eagles and Detroit Lions games at home also have potential, so let’s call it even and say one of them.
This assumption is that Dallas will be favored seven more times, counting this week, which means that based on current performance the Cowboys will win 4-5 of the games that they are favored in. That gets us up to 8-9 wins on the season.
While the Cowboys do not have a win as underdogs so far this season, they went 3-3 in those situations a year ago. They were 3-1 in such situations in 2021.
So if we assume (lots of assuming here today) that the Cowboys are able to just split their four games that we are projecting them to be the underdogs in then we are now up to 10-11 wins which really explains FTN Fantasy’s projection.
It goes without saying that football is an unpredictable game and that any number of things could happen to change the calculus involved. If things work out more positively for the Cowboys then they could always climb and potentially steal the NFC East and maybe even the top seed in the conference, but given that San Francisco has the direct tiebreaker over them that is going to be some tough sledding.
If the Cowboys are indeed able to reach the playoffs this season it will be the first time since 1994-1996 that the team heads to the postseason three consecutive years. There are no trophies handed out for this, but being a consistent participant in the tournament is hardly anything to scoff at.