At 6-2, Dallas can prop up its feet during Bye week and pull for outcomes to benefit its playoff push.
On Sunday night Sept. 11 the Dallas Cowboys would have never believed they would be sitting pretty heading into November. An ugly loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dak Prescott’s fractured thumb had morale trending toward a lost season before it really began. “It wasn’t a great start … pretty dark,” owner Jerry Jones said this week. “If you would’ve told me we’d be 6-2 at the Bye it would’ve flown right over my head. I don’t think I would’ve even considered it.”
But thanks to Cooper Rush’s 4-1 bullpen performance and one of the NFL’s best defenses, the Cowboys are indeed alive and well as they head into an off Sunday. Super Bowl odds which started at 14-1 but then dipped to 50-1 have again risen to 14-1, behind only the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. After the disheartening 19-3 loss to the Bucs they’ve gone 6-1, with the only loss at Philadelphia without Prescott.
This is the 11th time in Jones’ era the Cowboys have started 6-2. The previous 10 they made the playoffs. They can’t actively improve their postseason position with their feet propped up on the couch Sunday, but there are outcomes that would benefit the Cowboys. The Eagles have already won in Week 9, beating the lowly Houston Texans to improve to 8-0. The Cowboys have work to do to catch Philly in the NFC East, with the Christmas Eve showdown at AT&T Stadium looming more delicious by the week.
Assuming Dallas can’t catch the Eagles, it is headed for a Wild Card. Entering Week 9 it owns the first of three Wild-Card berths, ahead of the 6-2 New York Giants (because of the Sept. 26 win at New York) and 4-4 49ers. The Washington Commanders are still in the mix at 4-4, and the winner of Sunday’s Los Angeles Rams-Bucs game will consider themselves still alive.
The outcomes the Cowboys are rooting for:
Chargers over Falcons – Atlanta surprisingly leads the NFC South at 4-4, but could wind up sliding back to be in contention for a Wild-Card spot.
Lions over Packers – Green Bay is teetering at 3-5. A loss in Detroit and another to the Cowboys Nov. 13 and the Pack will be poof.
Vikings over Commanders – At 6-1 Minnesota is already in control of the NFC North. A loss pushes Washington further out of the conversation.
Seahawks over Cardinals – The upstart Seahawks lead the NFC West, while another loss by 3-5 Arizona and notorious Cowboys-killer Kyler Murray might end its playoff hopes.
Rams over Buccaneers – If one of these two climbs back into the Wild-Card hunt the Cowboys hope it’s L.A. They have the tie-breaker over the Rams via the Oct. 9 victory in L.A., while the loss to Tampa Bay could sting again late