The Dallas Cowboys’ playoff scenarios took a hit on Thursday night, but the team still controls its destiny over the final three weeks of the NFL regular season.
Sure, the loss to the Chicago Bears on national television was embarrassing. It’s also pretty bad that the first-place team in the NFC East has a losing record. But everything resets in the postseason.
After losing to the Bears, the Cowboys are now 6-7 on the season. That leaves just three games left on the regular-season schedule — including a huge matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles, at 5-7 so far, are still trying to chase down the Cowboys, but they need help along the way.
Dallas Cowboys playoff scenarios
If the Cowboys beat the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins over the next three weeks, they finish at 9-7 and clinch the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs.
The Cowboys can also win the NFC East and the No. 4 seed by beating the Eagles and then either the Redskins or Rams. They don’t have to win all three games to make it to the postseason.
Having already destroyed the Eagles early in the season (37-10), the Cowboys already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. Sweeping the Eagles will cement that fact if a tie occurs at the top of the NFC East.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 6, 2019
The Cowboys don’t necessarily have to beat the Eagles either. If the Cowboys beat the Rams and Redskins, but lose to the Eagles, they then need the Eagles to lose one of their other three games.
The Eagles play the Redskins once and the Giants twice. An 8-8 tie at that point is good enough for the Cowboys to win the NFC East.
The Cowboys also control the tiebreaker of best divisional record over the Eagles, which is why an 8-8 tie atop the standings isn’t the worst result possible.
So far, the Cowboys are 4-0 against the NFC East, while the Eagles are at 1-1. So, if the Eagles lost one more game to an opponent in the East, it would push them further back.
While it’s not very aesthetically pleasing when looking at the standings, the Cowboys still have an easy route to the NFL playoffs.
The bad news is that they would have to play a tough team in the first-round — likely the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks. The good news is that the game would take place in Texas.