Welcome to Week 15 of the NFL season. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, at the time of writing, the Dallas Cowboys have a 100% chance of making the playoffs (gotta love those odds) and a 97.9% chance to win the NFC East. Congratulations, Cowboys fans! Unless there is a sudden, shocking collapse where the Cowboys lose all four of their remaining games (and one of the 6-7 teams wins all four of the rest of their games), you will get to see your ‘Boys play playoff football!
Currently, the Cowboys sit at 9-4, putting them one game behind the best record in the NFC (and the NFL as a whole). Getting here was no small feat. The Cowboys had one of the top five most difficult schedules among teams currently set to be in the playoffs. Dallas also has the best conference winning percentage of all NFC teams with a 7-1 record.
The Cowboys are 3-0 in the NFC East and should go undefeated in their division. Dallas is lucky that the NFC East has three other teams who aren’t all that great. Washington is dealing with COVID-19 surges and injuries. The Giants are a mess. And, the Eagles seem to be the only potential threat. Dallas has a win against every team in the No. 7 through No. 11 spots. That’s pretty great.
So, the Cowboys will likely go to the playoffs. Nice! But, let’s not forget that making it to the playoffs isn’t enough when you look at the big picture. The Cowboys have not made it to an NFC Championship game (let alone won one) since 1995. That year they won their third Super Bowl in just four seasons. Not ideal.
We all want to see the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, but there are a lot of obstacles to getting there. Internally, the offense needs to start playing even half as well as the defense is playing. Dak Prescott needs to get back to being a franchise-caliber quarterback. And, if possible, they need to remain uninjured.
Externally, there are some big-gun NFC teams that would love to see the Cowboys continue to avoid playing in the Super Bowl. Let’s take a deeper dive into the four teams that could get in the way of the Cowboys making the big game.