The NFL playoffs are quickly approaching for the Dallas Cowboys. Although it remains unknown what seed they will get, one thing is certain; they will be back to the postseason for the first time since 2018.
As it stands right now, the Cowboys will be the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs after losing a nail-biter to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. In order for Dallas to move up in the standings, they will first need to beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday and need some help from other teams.
With a win this weekend, the Cowboys would finish the season with a 12-5 record. However, there are two scenarios that would need to happen to give Dallas a better seeding come playoff time.
Scenario #1: DAL WIN (@ PHI), TB LOSS (vs. CAR), LAR LOSS (vs. SF) & ARI LOSS (vs. SEA)
If all this happens, the Cowboys would finish as the second seed in the NFC. It is not an easy road to rise up in the standings, but crazier things have happened in the NFL this season.
Scenario #2: DAL WIN (@ PHI), TB WIN (vs. CAR), LAR LOSS (vs. SF) & ARI LOSS (vs. SEA)
This second scenario would give Dallas the third seed in the playoffs and a much easier first-round opponent. Finishing at No. 4 would give the Cowboys the second-place finisher of the NFC West (Arizona Cardinals or Los Angeles Rams). However, as the third seed, they would face the San Francisco 49ers or the Philadelphia Eagles.
With a lot that needs to happen, the fourth seed is very likely where the Cowboys will land in the playoffs. This means that they will have to beat three of the top four teams in the conference if they want to have a chance at the Lombardi Trophy.
The road to the Super Bowl isn’t going to be easy by any means. However, Dallas has to play to their strengths throughout their playoff run. Here are their strengths entering the playoffs.
3. Include Micah Parsons In Pass-Rushing
It’s no secret that the Cowboys have an extremely talented front four led by DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Neville Gallimore, Carlos Watkins, and even throw in Micah Parsons. More specifically, the pass rush of Lawrence, Gregory, and Parsons is probably one of the best trios on the line in the league.
It is important to note that Parsons did test positive for COVID-19 and will be out for Week 18. Since the former Penn State star will have more than 10 days since testing positive, he will most likely be available for Dallas in their first-round matchup.
As a result, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn should get creative by pass-rushing all three players. There have been multiple times this season where Quinn decides to send them all and it turns out to be beneficial. In the first couple of clips, you can see that good things happen when you blitz using Parsons, Lawrence, and Gregory.
Although quarterback Kyler Murray did find running back Chase Edmonds outside the pocket in one of the clips, the pressure was there and Lawrence arguably got held in the endzone. Other than that, Murray struggled to complete passes when pressured and had to get rid of the ball quickly.
Even though none of Dallas’ big three had a sack in the Arizona game, they did make a huge difference. In the game, both Gregory and Parsons had a QB hit.
As it stands now, the Cowboys will have likely be able to get redemption against the Cardinals in the first week of the postseason. With linebacker Keanu Neal back from COVID, there will be more opportunities for Dallas to blitz all three.
There are very few teams if any, that could stop this deadly pass rush. So, if they can really utilize this in the postseason, good things like turnovers and victories will come.