Yes, the Cowboys squandered a 26-3 halftime lead on Sunday. Sure, ESPN already has begun calling it an “epic tragedy.”
As Tony Dungy of NBC explained during last night’s Bengals-Steelers postgame show, the loss to the Packers doesn’t really change much for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys’ postseason chances still point to Week 17, with a Third Annual NFC East Championship Game looming against the Eagles. Dallas has fallen to 7-7 and the Eagles stand at 8-6, which means that the Cowboys need only to win against the 3-11 Redskins on Sunday to set the stage for a winner-take-all-loser-gets-nothing-and-likes-it showdown with the Eagles.
With the Cowboys already beating the Eagles in Philly, Dallas needs to be only one game behind the Eagles entering the final weekend. If Dallas is 8-7 and the Eagles are 9-6, a Cowboys win results in a tie that would go to Dallas via the two-game sweep.
While that all makes sense from a big-picture perspective, it won’t do much to make Sunday’s loss any easier to swallow. With the Eagles stumbling at Minnesota, a Cowboys win at Washington and a Philly loss to the Bears on Sunday night would have made Week 17 irrelevant.
Instead, Week 17 remains highly relevant. And it should be a great game. Especially if the Cowboys have the ball with a chance to win. Or to not lose.