What does the current path look like for the Cowboys?
The Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoffs. This is the first time since the 2006 and 2007 seasons that the team will have had back-to-back playoff appearances. With their playoff birth now clinched, let’s take a look at the most likely playoff scenarios for the Dallas Cowboys.
Heading into week 18 of the 2022 NFL season, the Cowboys currently stand at a 12-4 record. This puts them in second place in the NFC East and fifth place overall in the NFC conference. They play the Washington Commanders in week 18 with hopes of becoming division champions, and potentially the number-one seed.
Although the chances are slim, it’s not impossible. What will it take?
Week 18 is arguably the most important week for playoff teams this year in the NFC; with three teams racing for the number one seed (Philidelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers).
The Eagles are the current number-one seed and would need a win this Sunday versus the New York Giants (9-6-1) in order to keep their seeding and the division title. The Giants had just recently clinched their first playoff birth since 2016 with a win over the Indianapolis Colts this past week. For things to go in favor of Dallas, Cowboys fans should be rooting for the Giants this weekend.
A win over the Eagles would not only knock them off the number one seed, but it would also give Dallas their only shot left at winning the division. All Dallas would have to do is beat the Commanders, who they previously beat with a score of 25-10, under backup quarterback Cooper Rush, dating back to week four.
What are the possible scenarios?
New York Giants win + San Francisco loss + Dallas Cowboys win = Dallas Cowboys number one seed and division title.
New York Giants win + San Francisco 49ers win + Dallas Cowboys win = Dallas Cowboys number two seed and division title.
Philidelphia Eagles win + San Francisco 49ers win + Dallas Cowboys win = Dallas Cowboys number 5 seed and no division title.
Philadelphia Eagles loss + Dallas Cowboys loss = Dallas Cowboys number 5 seed.
Higher or lower seeding? What is better for Dallas moving forward?
Realistically, the Cowboys have their best odds pointing towards becoming either the second or fifth seed.
In a scenario where Dallas is the number two seed, they would play the seventh seed. The seventh seed is still up for grabs with the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Seattle Seahawks all being in the mix.
If Dallas were to become the fifth seed, they would play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; who are automatically locked into the fourth seed following their win over the Carolina Panthers. This matchup may not be in the best interest of Dallas as they had previously lost to the Bucs, in week one, with a score of 19-3. It is also important to note that Buccaneers Quarterback, Tom Brady, is 7-0 against Dallas in his career.
This is a different Cowboys team than what it was back in week one. This team fought through the adversity of losing their starting quarterback for 5 weeks. They took down the Minnesota Vikings when it was thought they were at their best. They went 8-2 with Dak Prescott back and now have a real chance at redeeming themselves for the division title.
Dallas has to do their part in beating the Washington Commanders, while they hope the Giants can knock off the Eagles in order to win the division. It may not go in their favor, but it will all come down to how Dallas performs, come playoff time.