Ladies and gentlemen, for all intents and purposes, your Dallas Cowboys are playoff-bound. Yes, I know they have not “officially” clinched, but the eggs are cooling, the butter is getting hard and the Jell-O’s jiggling.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Cowboys have a more than 99% chance of winning the division. Obviously, winning the division gets them in the playoffs, but they also have a more than 99% of earning a playoff berth. Essentially, they are as close as you can be to mid-January football without actually having the golden ticket.
Once that first goal is met, the next step is to secure the highest seed possible. Week 15 was extremely kind to Dallas in terms of seeding. Both the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers took unexpected losses, while the Cowboys won their third straight game.
This scenario vaulted Dallas from the No. 4 in the NFC all the way up to No. 2, one game behind Green Bay. Again, referring to the FiveThirtyEight website, these results now give the Cowboys a 14% chance at a first-round bye. If Dallas wins out and the Packers slip up just once, the Cowboys will earn the number one seed.
Cowboys defense continues to shine, but offense needs to make some serious changes before the playoffs
Of course, the main reason for the Cowboys being in the mix for this potential positioning has been the play of the defense. In five of their last six games, Dallas has allowed 20 points or fewer. The Cowboys have also caused four or more turnovers in three straight games, an unreal stat, especially for this franchise.
With 31 takeaways, Dallas is tied for the league lead in this category. The Cowboys also have the unquestionable Defensive Rookie of the Year in Micah Parsons and have two players who will get votes for that same award, regardless of time served in the league.
All of this is rare for the Cowboys, who have not had a defense this good since 2009. While the return of the Doomsday D has been a sight for sore eyes, another rarity is taking place which threatens to press pause on all this positivity.
Simply put, this offense is struggling. You can make whatever excuse you like, but the production is just not there right now. In three of the last five games, the offense has barely cracked the 20-point mark. Aside from one hot quarter on Thanksgiving against the Las Vegas Raiders, this unit has been largely aided by the defense either scoring touchdowns on their own or providing excellent field position.
Obviously, you want to be firing on all cylinders when the stakes get higher. So, how can the Cowboys fix this problem? Here are three quick fixes that the team needs to make, prior to the playoffs, that can really help this team.