Beating the Eagles on Sunday night leaves the Cowboys within striking distance of an NFC playoff berth. But at this point, Dallas likely needs to run the table the rest of the way, in addition to getting some help, to make the postseason.
And considering that the Cowboys don’t have any easy games on the rest of the schedule — they play the Bengals, Steelers, Saints and Redskins over the final four weeks — running the table doesn’t seem likely. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems to realize that.
“I’m real hopeful, I’m very hopeful, but I’m realistic,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News. “I’m proud of the team, but we really have to call on everybody and everything to do everything, whether it’s a coach or a player, we have to do everything we can do to get these next four ballgames.”
As Jones sees it, all the Cowboys can do is play their best in those four ballgames.
“We ought to take these four games and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got an opportunity here but let’s get in here and dedicate ourselves.’ That’s the way I feel about it,” Jones said. “I’m proud that we have an opportunity.”
At this point, the Cowboys probably have a better chance of catching the Giants and winning the NFC East than of making the playoffs as a wild card. The Bears and Seahawks are both ahead of the Cowboys in the wild-card race, and both teams own the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over the Cowboys as well, so the wild card is a long shot for the Cowboys. Cowboys fans should be rooting for the Redskins to beat the Giants tonight, and then the Giants to go into a slide with tough games against the Saints, Falcons and Ravens ahead. If the Giants stumble over the final month of the season, the Cowboys could be playing the Redskins with the NFC East on the line in Week 17.
But if Jones is realistic, he knows that’s not likely.