3 things the Cowboys must do to prepare for the 2022 NFL playoffs

Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (3) on the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (3) on the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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With a successful regular season thus far, the Dallas Cowboys must look ahead to the playoffs.

The value of the regular season is an endless debate. Some view it as a pathway into the playoffs, while others value the higher volume of games as a more accurate test to evaluate a team’s performance. Regardless of your side, you want your team to win the Super Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys have an impressive record of 9-3 despite injury issues throughout the season. For the first time in a while, having a winning record does not ensure a playoff appearance. The NFC East is the most competitive division in the NFL.

With the regular season approaching its end, America’s Team must begin looking to reach heights they haven’t in a long time. How can they prepare to succeed in the playoffs in pursuit of a Super Bowl win?

3 things Cowboys must do to get ready for 2022 NFL Playoffs matchups

Micah Parsons, Cowboys
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) scores a during the second quarter of game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field. (Credit: MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL) /

3. Don’t Play Down to Your Opponent

The NFL is not the most predictable league. After all, only twice in the past 20 years has a team not gone from last in their division to division champs the following season. Those type of upsets and role reversals are what the Cowboys must prevent to ensure they play beyond Week 18.

After a massive win over the Indianapolis Colts, Dallas awaits the in-state rival Houston Texans, followed by a trip to play the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both are among the worst teams in the league, combining for a record of 5-18-1.

While that does not sound intimidating, don’t be fooled. The Jaguars beat two teams currently in a playoff spot, the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers. Houston boasts one of the league’s best running backs in Dameon Pierce, who always manages to play well even if his team doesn’t.

The Cowboys opened the game vs. Green Bay as 3.5-point favorites but lost 31-28 in overtime.

These are games that could very quickly slip under the radar. Failure to close out these games would put more pressure on Dallas to win against tougher competition. That comes in the form of the Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, and, finally, the Washington Commanders.

The Titans and Eagles are in a playoff spot, with the Commanders only one win out from a Wild Card spot. With the Philly game set to be neck-and-neck, the goal is to win at least one of the other two games. Finishing by winning three of the following five games means a comfortable 12-5 record.

Adam Weinrib was thinking the same thing way back six months ago. Win three of the last five games — the difference being I marked the Eagles game as a loss, with a win coming against either Washington or Tennessee.

The Cowboys opened the game vs. Indianapolis as 10.5 -point favorites and won 54-19.

The need for America’s Team to play to their full potential is not limited to the playoffs, though. The most likely outcome is a Wild Card matchup against whichever underwhelming team wins the NFC South. That’s if the Eagles win the NFC East, leaving the Cowboys earning the number five seed.

Bad decisions and penalties can turn a dominant team into an average one. The Cowboys have the second-most penalties with 86, joining the Seattle Seahawks as the only two teams within the top six most penalized clubs to have a winning record.

Winning games “you’re supposed to win” is more complex than it may seem. The NFL is a competitive league, with one or two mistakes possibly costing a win each week. I’ve been disappointed by Dallas before. All the team needs to do is play as they have for most of the season.