The Cowboys are 5-1 over their last six games and tied for the second-best record in the NFC. Unfortunately, they also share a division with Philadelphia. As the 10-1 Eagles keep finding ways to win, Dallas’ hope of winning the NFC East, and perhaps the top seed in the conference, is dwindling fast.
Philly gutted out another victory against a tough opponent, outlasting the Buffalo Bills in overtime. After also winning a nail-biter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, the Eagles are close to running the gauntlet of games that Cowboys fans hoped would allow Dallas to close the gap.
Dallas has been blowing out their own competition as of late, albeit against the unimpressive Giants, Panthers, and Commanders. But unless the Eagles have an epic collapse in December, all these Cowboys wins won’t secure anything more than the fifth seed in the upcoming playoffs.
Speaking of the tournament, Washington has ended any realistic shot at being part of it. Between an ugly loss to the Giants and their Thanksgiving blowout from Dallas, the Commanders have gone from scrappy to crappy and appear to be focusing on the offseason now.
Here are the NFC East standings after Week 12:
- Philadelphia Eagles 10-1 (3-0 in division)
- Dallas Cowboys 8-3 (3-1 in division)
- New York Giants 4-8 (2-2 in division)
- Washington Commanders 4-8 (0-5)
How slim are the Cowboys’ chances in the NFC East at this point? Obviously, with six games left in the season, anything is possible. But with the Eagles’ last four games being against the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Giants (two games), they have to drop their next two against San Francisco and Dallas to even open the door.
Even if Philly and Dallas are tied up after Week 14, the Cowboys' last four games are far less generous. They have a two-game road trip to Buffalo and Miami before hosting the Lions. The odds are far less in their favor for late-season wins, which could render even the best outcomes over the next two weeks moot.
As we’ve discussed before, Dallas winding up as the fifth seed in the NFC is far from tragic. If they can’t get a first-round bye as the NFC’s top seed, facing the NFC South winner is arguably the next-best option.
That said, it’ll still hurt to see the Eagles go back-to-back as NFC East Champions. It will mean Philadelphia accomplished something that nobody has done in almost two decades, when the 2004 Eagles were the last NFC East team to win consecutive division titles.
The Cowboys are having a great season, but playing second fiddle to Philly is hanging over them, Thankfully, division titles don’t mean much once we get to the playoffs. That’s where Dallas’ true success this year will be defined.