Why the Cowboys’ Week 14 game vs Washington is a must-win

Cowboys (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Cowboys (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Cowboys -4.0. 1 PM ET. 8-4. Fox Sports. 6-6. 58. 123. Sunday, Dec 12

The Dallas Cowboys head into the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Football Team on Sunday. The Cowboys currently have a two-game lead over the Football Team in the division, and this weekend’s game is a must-win for Dallas.

Not only would a win on Sunday give the Cowboys a three-game lead in the division, but it will also keep them in the race for one of the top three seeds in the NFC playoff picture. I think it is extremely important that they end with a top-three seed to avoid facing either the Arizona Cardinals or more likely the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs.

Say what you want about the Rams and their current struggles, but their team is far more talented than the Vikings, 49ers, WFT, or Eagles – all teams that are still in the hunt. So, a win over Washington would not just be about the division, but it would also be about the NFC playoff picture in total.

Another reason why this game is a must-win is because it is the first time all season the Cowboys are fully-healthy. On the offensive side of the ball, the Cowboys are set to be at full strength, which has been rare. The receivers have had the last ten days to rest and should be ready to roll in Washington. Also, despite Ezekiel Elliott having a knee injury, he should be good to go on Sunday. Let’s hope the mini-bye week has him feeling better. The only question mark is running back Tony Pollard, who tore the left plantar fascia in his foot.

With key reinforcements returning, the Cowboys’ Week 14 matchup is a must-win.

Defensively, the Cowboys will be getting key players back as well. Neville Gallimore and Randy Gregory are set to return from injury. Now, the defense will have Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Neville Gallimore all on the field together for the first time all season.

Something else to consider for the Cowboys is that three of their four losses have come against AFC opponents. With the second tiebreaker for playoff seeding being the win-loss percentage in games played within the conference, the Cowboys currently sit in a good position. Their only loss in the conference is to Tampa Bay.

With the Cowboys only two games out of the number one seed, there is a good chance the tiebreakers will come into play at the end of the season. Everything on Sunday is lining up for a must-win not only over a divisional foe but over an NFC opponent. Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s words showed the press that he is especially confident in his team on Sunday.

Washington continues to play with their backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke after starter Ryan Fitzpatrick got hurt in Week 1 and has not returned. While Heinicke has been impressive, he has also been reckless at times.

If you look around the league, most games are decided between whoever has the better quarterback. In this game, it is clear Dak Prescott is superior to Heinicke and he must play that way on Sunday to ensure a Cowboys victory. Overall, with Dallas being fully healthy, and the NFC playoff race getting heated, the Cowboys need to see Sunday’s matchup as a must-win game.