NFL Playoff Picture: Dallas Cowboys Are Not Out Of It Yet

For the Dallas Cowboys, the mission is clear, just win. Ignore the Cowboys’ current 3-8 record. That is certainly not a playoff-worthy record, but one win against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football will change everything.

Can this Dallas Cowboys team somehow shake off the 3-8 start and make it to the playoffs? Given how bad the NFC East is these days, the playoffs are a realistic possibility, if they can defeat the Redskins.

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After the Sunday slate of games came to a close, two of the Cowboys’ division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, were involved in a couple of important games. The Eagles pulled off a shocking upset over the New England Patriots, while the Giants lost to the New York Jets. That set both teams at 5-7, just one game behind the Redskins in the loss column.

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According to USA Today’s updated playoff picture, Washington will maintain the NFC East lead due to tiebreakers. The one team that the Redskins do not have a tiebreaker advantage is with the Cowboys. The Cowboys face them twice.

NFL playoffs Dallas Cowboys are not out
(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images Sport)

A win on Monday Night Football would be huge for the Cowboys. They would essentially be one game back in the NFC East standings heading into next week. Both teams have tough matchups in Week 14.

A road game in Green Bay awaits the Cowboys. The Redskins travel to Chicago to play the frustrated Chicago Bears. Both teams could win, both could lose. The scales do not tip in anyone’s favor, and why should it? The NFC East is the one division where no team wants to take the advantage.

In order for Dallas to seize some momentum, they must do what Sportsday Dallas News’ writer Tim Cowlishaw suggests, they must pull a Carolina.

Many will recall that it was the Carolina Panthers, who last season, won four straight games to win an awful NFC South division that was up for grabs. They finished with a 7-8-1 record. Carolina was able to use that momentum in the wildcard round a beat the Arizona Cardinals, before losing to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Cowboys are capable of a similar run. They will have to do it without quarterback Tony Romo.

NFL playoffs Dallas Cowboys are not out
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

When Dallas traded for Matt Cassel near the trade deadline, they did not expect him to play more than a couple of games. The former Patroits’ starter was added as a security blanket. He is now the man calling the plays for the rest of the season for the Cowboys. According to the Charlotte Observer one prominent player, tight end Jason Witten thinks highly of Cassel. He also believes that Cassel will excel.

“I believe we can still win those games. Matt has done a great job, a good leader, good energy. I think he’s more comfortable in this system, so hopefully that carries over to Monday.”

The Cowboys defense has come to play in Romo’s absence. Offensive coordinator thinks that it’s time for the offense to pitch in and score some points.

“We haven’t scored enough points. It’s obvious, and I’m not being a smart-aleck either.”

“We had a couple of games where we moved the ball better. There were some really good spurts in there as far as production offensively. Some games, we had some point production, but we had a couple of games there where we didn’t get the ball in the end zone enough, so that’s got to be something that’s got to change for us.”

If it changes versus the Redskins, the Cowboys could come out of the game victorious. What should help them is the additional time that they had to prepare, having played on Thanksgiving Day. They hope that one win is the start of something big.

The Dallas Cowboys know that their game against the Washington Redskins will either extend or end their season. As the NFL playoff picture clears up a little bit, the NFC East still looks winnable. That is good news for a 3-8 Cowboys team looking to do pull a “Carolina.”

[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images Sport]