Don’t count out the Dallas Cowboys yet: Why they could make an NFL playoff run

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Dallas Cowboys fans are in a panic. Losing a close game to the Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts, was one thing, but a 26-15 loss to the Bills at home on Thanksgiving ruined dinners across America. It’s beginning to feel like a lost season for a Cowboys team that before the season expected to contend for a Super Bowl. You can tell things aren’t going well when the in-game news is about how coach Jason Garrett won’t be fired in-season.

There are reasons to be skeptical of this team and its ceiling. Garrett might not get fired during the season, but his long-term future with the organization looks increasingly cloudy. Key contributors such as Leighton Vander Esch and Amari Cooper are either banged up or outright injured. The Cowboys unquestionably have problems.

Is it time to write off Dallas and its chances of making the playoffs? No. As ugly as Thursday’s loss was, there are reasons to think the Cowboys are still a viable playoff contender. By ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), in fact, the 6-6 Cowboys are still favorites to win the NFC East at 62%. I’m not quite as confident in the Cowboys as FPI, but those projections are a reminder that Dallas is still very much in the race.5

As messy as the Cowboys look now, have you seen the Eagles? Philadelphia’s offense has scored only 19 points over the past two games in losses to the Patriots and Seahawks, and one of those scores came with 23 seconds left down 17-3 last weekend. The Eagles have been ravaged by injuries on offense and were down to third-stringers along the offensive line during the loss to the Seahawks. And while the Giants and Washington are still somehow mathematically in the playoff race at 2-9, both teams should be eliminated as early as this nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The Eagles are comfortable favorites at Miami on Sunday, which would take them to 6-6 and tied for first place with the Cowboys. Dallas has the tiebreaker after stomping the Eagles 37-10 in October, but the rematch between these two teams in Week 16 will take place in Philadelphia. Then again, home field hasn’t meant much to the Eagles this season, given that Carson Wentz & Co. are 3-3 at the Linc in 2019.

Philadelphia’s remaining schedule isn’t scary, either. Even after the Dolphins game this weekend, the non-Cowboys schedule on tap for Doug Pederson’s team includes a home-and-home with the Giants and a road trip to play a Washington team that routinely plays in front of a half-empty stadium. It’s worth pointing out that the Eagles have lost to the 3-9 Falcons and 3-8-1 Lions this season, but outside of the Cowboys game, that’s four matchups against some of the league’s worst teams.