Update: The Cowboys and Buccaneers will officially play Monday night on Wild Card Weekend.
The Dallas Cowboys are hoping to overcome a sloppy start to dispose of the Commanders on Sunday. Unfortunately, they’re not getting much help amid their quest to become NFC East champs, as the Eagles are making light work of the Giants, who rested their starters, to clinch the division and the No. 1 seed.
There’s no shame in that, of course. The Cowboys won 12 games and two of their losses came with their backup quarterback starting. Their other two losses came in overtime against two playoff teams. Even though Dallas held a double-digit lead in the second half in both games, that’s a heck of a season.
Given the current playoff format, though, a 13-4 record was good enough to earn the Cowboys a Wild Card berth. Perhaps the NFL will reconsider changing the rules and regulations in the offseason, but for now Dak Prescott and company will hit the road for a matchup against the Buccaneers on Wild Card Weekend.
To say this matchup will be a ratings monster would be an understatement, so the league is likely motivated to give it the biggest stage possible.
While the first-round schedule hasn’t been released yet, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News has heard rumblings that Cowboys-Bucs is shaping up to be the Monday night game on Super Wild Card Weekend.
The Cowboys could play the Buccaneers on Monday night on Super Wild Card Weekend.
The same goes for the Buccaneers, obviously, but this is the worst-case scenario for the Cowboys. It just underlines why so many fans hate the idea of playoff games being played on Monday night. If Dallas topples Tom Brady and company, they would be at a significant rest disadvantage for the Divisional Round.
Let’s paint a scenario for you. If the NFC’s division winners (sans the Bucs, so the 49ers, Vikings) win their respective matchups, the Cowboys would play the No. 1 seed Eagles the following weekend.
See the problem? Whereas the Cowboys would be licking their wounds from a Monday night slugfest, the Eagles would be coming off their bye. In other words, one team would have the fewest allotted rest time between games, while the other (Philadelphia) would have the longest amount of rest allotted.
It’s not the biggest deal in the world — the Cowboys will likely be favored against Tampa Bay and should take care of business — but one that could be easily avoided. Dallas is the unfortunate team in this scenario, but why put any squad at a legitimate disadvantage in the playoffs?
We’re talking about win-or-go-home. Lose and your season is over. Shouldn’t the league do everything in its power to ensure rest is divided as evenly as possible? Even if games are scheduled on Saturday in the Divisional Round, it’s ridiculous that Dallas (or Tampa!) would have one less day to rest and prepare for their next do-or-die game.
A simple solution: just scrap Monday night playoff games altogether.