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Dallas Cowboys playoffs: Here is every possible opponent Dallas could face in Wild Card Round

The Cowboys can face a number of different teams in the Wild Card Round.

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have had a playoff spot clinched for a couple of weeks now, and up until recently it seemed overwhelmingly likely that they would be heading into the tournament as the top-seeded Wild Card in the NFC.

On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals completely changed that as their win against the Philadelphia Eagles opened the door for Dallas to win the NFC East. Given that the Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions just one day before all of that resulted in a world where America’s Team can now take home the second seed in the conference.

There are a number of different ways that the final week of the regular season can set up the postseason, and until the late window is closed (where the Cowboys will be playing by the way) nothing is set in stone.

Here are all of the possible playoff opponents that the Dallas Cowboys can face in the Wild Card Round

While the exact NFC Playoff Picture is still unknown, the possible different scenarios at this point are known. This means that we can take a look at every potential scenario and know the teams the Cowboys could play in the Wild Card Round.

This is every single way that the NFC (and AFC, although who cares about them!) can shake out.

The Cowboys are the two seed in half of the scenarios as far as the top four are concerned. If they do not win on Sunday they can still reach that spot with losses from both Detroit or Philadelphia. If Dallas loses and Philly wins then they take the NFC East and the Cowboys are the #5 seed. But if Dallas loses, Philly loses and Detroit wins then the Cowboys still take the division but fall to the #3 seed.

If you think that sounds complicated then take a look at the rest of the field in the conference. The NFC South still does not have a determined winner, although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can claim it with a win over the Carolina Panthers. If they fall short there then it goes to the winner between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

Given that the Cowboys can still be three different seeds in the playoffs (#2, #3 or #5) that means that the number of teams who they can play is rather large and complicated.

Here are the possible playoff opponents for the Cowboys broken down by seed (listed in order of most combinations to least):

  • If Dallas is the #2 seed: Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks
  • If Dallas is the #3 seed: Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers
  • If Dallas is the #5 seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints

All told there are six possible teams that the Cowboys could face based on any one of these potential combinations: GB, LAR, MIN, SEA, NO, TB, ATL.

The “worst” matchup possible here depends on how you feel about different sides of the ball for the Cowboys. New Orleans is technically ranked highest in overall DVOA, but the Rams are ranked highest in offense specifically.

It feels like nobody would be all too worried about anybody except for Los Angeles and Green Bay with the latter being because of scars from the past. Truth be told the best field possible for the Cowboys is probably one where the Rams are at least the #6 seed and maybe provide enough upsets to where they take out the San Francisco 49ers before Dallas ever has to face them. In that world, if the Cowboys were to manage to get there, they would host the NFC Championship Game.

As mentioned Sunday will fully stabilize all of this and lock Dallas’ playoff opponent into place; however, given the way that the Week 18 schedule is the Cowboys will not know the full slate of things while their own game is happening. Everything will fall into place as evening settles in.

Note: We accidentally left the Seahawks off when this post was originally published.


Which possible playoff opponent for the Cowboys concerns you the most?

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