Stage set: Cowboys are back in the chase for NFC East with 1st-place Eagles coming to town- David Moore, DMN
The divisional race is very much alive. Dallas needs to win on Sunday to keep it that way.
Philadelphia’s loss to San Francisco early Sunday evening stoked the embers of that Cowboys-Eagles rivalry even more. If Dallas is able to extend its league-best home winning streak next week at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys would go into the final four weeks of the regular season ahead of the Eagles.
Dallas would take the lead on the fact they’ve played — and won — one more NFC East game than Philadelphia. They would also own a half-game lead based on the second tie-breaker, which is common opponents.
The slimmest of edges? No question. It’s one that would disappear if the Eagles run the table in their final four games.
If Dallas wins next weekend and both teams finish 14-3, Philadelphia wins the division and would relegate the Cowboys to Wild Card status. That loss to Arizona would come back to bite them.
But any chance Dallas has to win the division bordered on unobtainable if the Niners hadn’t manhandled the Eagles the way they did the Cowboys earlier in the season.
NFL Playoff Picture 2023-24: Updated AFC, NFC Standings After Week 13 Early Slate- Joe Tansey, Bleacher Report
It’s crunch time in the playoff race.
1. Philadelphia (10-2)
2. San Francisco (9-3)
3. Detroit (9-3)
4. Atlanta (6-6)
5. Dallas (9-3)
6. Minnesota (6-6)
7. Los Angeles Rams (6-6)
8. Seattle (6-6)
9. Green Bay (5-6)
10. Tampa Bay (5-7)
11. New Orleans (5-7)
San Francisco moved within one game of the No. 1 seed with its 42-19 win over the Eagles.
Brock Purdy and Co. delivered a statement on the road, as they scored touchdowns on six consecutive drives.
The 49ers now need to finish the regular season level on record with the Eagles to pick up home-field advantage in the NFC.
Getting Credit Where It’s Due: How Mike McCarthy is Guiding the Cowboys to Success- Jermaine Arvie, Inside The Star
Regardless of your opinion on Mike McCarthy, you have to admit the guy has turned the offense around.
The time of possession game has flipped now that Mike is the playcaller
Despite the points, Dallas found themselves facing the same predicaments in the postseason.
I’ll be the first to admit that Kellen getting the lion’s share of the blame isn’t fair and may even be shortsighted.
McCarthy and Brian Schottenheimer have the offense humming.
More importantly, the balance across the board is apparent.
Last season, Dallas ranked 22nd in time of possession with an average of 29:27. However, this season, they have improved significantly and currently hold the third spot at 32:03.
When you look at it in practice, the Seattle Seahawks game had crumbs of proof sprinkled in it.
You don’t have to look further than the last two defensive drives.
The defense was well-rested and able to attack because they didn’t have to complement an offense with big plays and frequent four-and-outs.
The head ball coach stressed this in the offseason, and while it’s still early, we must tip our hats to the progress we’ve seen.
It was not a perfect performance from everyone involved in Thursday’s action.
2. Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator
The Dallas Cowboys have had the best point differential in the NFL for most of the 2023 season, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is a big reason for that. His defense not only prevents teams from scoring, but they put points on the board themselves. The Cowboys have forced 18 turnovers in 12 games this season, and they rank 4th in the NFL this year in points allowed.
With that being said, the Seahawks had their way on Thursday night, and Quinn needed to be bailed out a little bit. The Cowboys didn’t have much of an answer for Seattle’s passing game, allowing 334 yards through the air. That is the most the Cowboys have allowed in any game this season. The 406 total yards allowed by the Cowboys defense against Seattle is the 2nd-most yards they’ve allowed all season just behind the San Francisco game...which they lost 42-10.
Dallas Cowboys Predict ‘We’ll Be Ready! for Philadelphia Eagles’ After ‘Catching Our Breath’- John Macon Gillespie, Sports Illustrated
They have ten full days to prepare for their biggest game thus far.
“Yeah, they’re tired,” McCarthy said postgame on Thursday. “You could see it during the week. I mean, it took them a while to get back. So, they’ll be off for the weekend. We’ll get back together Monday. We’ll do some things Monday morning and then we’ll go into a normal seven-day week.”
It’s a good place to be in for Dallas. The Cowboys have the luxury of being able to “take a breather” because of their standing in the current NFC playoff picture. The goal is still to catch the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, sure, but a 9-3 record is nothing to scoff at.
Of course, next on the schedule is the biggest game of the regular season for Dallas. If it hopes to catch the Eagles, it will need to win the rivalry rematch next week on “Sunday Night Football.”
“We’re where we need to be right now,” McCarthy said. “I’m really just focused on our guys catching their breath here. Let’s try to get back into a normal, semi normal flow. But yeah, we’ll be ready for Philadelphia.”
Dak continues to impress. Once again delivering a great performance in primetime.
Skipping ahead to the fourth, Dallas finds themselves down eight needing points to keep the game within reach. On 1st-and-10, Prescott pulls more magic out of nowhere and escapes a sack to keep Dallas driving downfield.
Now only down five, Dallas needed a touchdown to take their first lead since the second quarter. Prescott drove the offense downfield efficiently to set up this all-too-easy pitch and catch with TE Jake Ferguson. This makes the score 38-35 after Prescott and Cooks connect on a two-point conversion.
Two ensuing defensive stops and a field goal would ice the game for Dallas and move them to 9-3 on the season.
When asked to describe the victory in his postgame interview QB Dak Prescott replied immediately, “We needed this” as he was nearly drowned out by MVP chants from fans in the background.
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