How can Dallas win the division: fast forwarding to a hypothetical week 15

Next two weeks are pivotal. Gotta go 2-0 and have Philly go 0-2 to have a realistic shot at the division. Winning one of the two or Philly beating SF does not technically eliminate Dallas from division contention, but it would for all practical purposes. So these scenarios start with the hypothetical week 15 where Dallas and Philly are both 10-3.

DAL has @BUF, @MIA, DET, and @WSH left. PHI has @SEA, NYG, ARI, @NYG left. If one team wins more game than the other, then that team would win without the need for tiebreakers obviously.

The relevant tiebreakers here would be (in order):
1. Head to head record (this is a tie in this scenario)
2. division record
3. record in common games
4. record within the conference
5. strength of victory (SOV = collective number of games won by the teams you beat/collective total games played by the teams you beat)

At this point, Dallas would temporarily be on top of Philly due to the common game record tiebreak with 4 games left to play. But PHI still controls their destiny. Record in common games at this point would be DAL 7-2 (3 remaining--BUF/MIA/WSH) and PHI 6-2 (4 remaining). Conference record would be DAL 7-3 (2 remaining--DET and WSH) and PHI 6-2 (4 remaining). Division record would be DAL 4-1 (1 remaining) and PHI 3-1 (2 remaining).

If PHI and DAL both go 4-0 from this point, PHI wins the conference record tiebreak 10-2 to 9-3 and wins the division. Division records are both 5-1 and common game records are both 10-2.

If both go 3-1 and PHI's loss is to NYG: Dallas wins the division if they beat WSH (beat WSH and 2/3 of the other teams and win the division tiebreak 5-1 v. 4-2).

If WSH is the lone loss, then they lose the conference record tiebreak 8-4 v. 9-3.(division record is tied 4-2 and common game record is tied 9-3).

If both go 3-1 and PHI's loss is to one of SEA/ARI: DAL has to beat WSH or they lose the division record tiebreak regardless of the results of the other games. OR

If DAL's one loss is to DET, DAL wins based on common game record (10-2 v. 9-3).

If DAL's one loss is to BUF or MIA, then it will come down to SOV tiebreaker, which Dallas is unlikely to win. It's also impossible to determine right now. So we can call that a PHI win.

If both go 2-2 and PHI is swept by NYG (lol), Dallas wins the division.

If both go 2-2 and PHI loses to NYG once and SEA/ARI once: DAL wins by beating WSH (division tiebreak). OR

DAL wins by beating Buffalo and Miami (common game tiebreak).

If Dallas were to lose to WSH and either BUF/MIA, division, common game, and conference record would all be tied. So SOV would come into play which PHI would almost certainly win.

If both go 2-2 and PHI loses to SEA and ARI: Dallas must beat WSH as one of their wins to tie the division record. If DAL beats WSH, any other win would win the division (beating BUF or MIA would win the common game tiebreak 9-3 v. 8-4; beating DET would win the conference record tiebreak 9-3 v. 8-4). Lose to WSH and it doesn't matter what else happens.

If both go 1-3, Dallas wins the division. Beating WSH would mean winning the division record tiebreak (since one of PHI's losses would have to be against NYG). Beating BUF or MIA would mean winning the common record tiebreak 8-4 to 7-5. Beating DET would mean winning the conference record tiebreak 8-4 v. 7-5.

If both go 0-4, Dallas wins the division based on common game record 7-5 to 6-6.

If you want to play around with scenarios, you can use the playoff machine on ESPN.

So those are the scenarios assuming Dallas and Philly are both 10-3 entering week 5. If they are not, winning the division becomes almost impossible.

So in all other games, Dallas' rooting interest is for the teams it has beaten to win as many of the remaining games as possible to boost its SOV in the event that becomes the deciding tiebreak (aside from Philly assuming Dallas beats them at home). On the flip side, we root for the teams Philly has beat to lose as many of the remaining games as possible.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.