NFC playoff picture: Cowboys under pressure at the quarter pole


With the Thanksgiving Day games in the books, the NFC playoff picture has gotten a shakeup.

First, let’s take a look at the winners:

— With their rout of Dallas, the Eagles (9-3) moved one game ahead of the Cowboys in the NFC East. For the moment, the Eagles are the No. 2 seed in the NFC, though they would lose their spot if Green Bay beats New England on Sunday.

— The Lions (8-4) have slid into the final wild-card spot after dispatching of Chicago.

— The Seahawks (8-4) moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 in the NFC after knocking off San Francisco. Why does this matter? The No. 5 seed is very likely to draw the NFC South winner in Round One.

Now, on to the losers:

— The Cowboys (8-4) fell from the No. 5 to the No. 7 seed on account of a good-but-not-great NFC record (5-4). This knocked them out of a three-way tiebreaker with Detroit and Seattle (see below).

— The 49ers (7-5) are now a game behind Seattle, Detroit and Dallas in the wild-card standings. With the defeat to the Seahawks, the Niners are now 1-3 in division play, with Seattle and Arizona having chances to sweep the season series in December.

— The Bears (5-7) are just about out of wild-card contention, though December home games against Dallas, New Orleans and Detroit will all have general NFC playoff ramifications.

Finally, let’s close with a few words on the Cowboys, who are suddenly quite vulnerable. Three of their final four games are on the road, with their lone home contest vs. AFC South-leading Indianapolis.

Dallas desperately needs to regain its footing with a win at Chicago next Thursday night. But can the Cowboys get it done? They are just 3-3 since upsetting Seattle in October, and they were outgained 464-267 by Philadelphia in the 33-10 loss on Thursday. The Bears’ offense isn’t exactly thriving at the moment, but it does have the skill-position talent to challenge Dallas.

Here’s a look at how the NFC’s playoff teams and primary playoff contenders would be seeded after Thursday’s games. The NFL’s tie-breaking rules and standings are referenced.


1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2, .818). NFC West leader. Earn first-round bye, home-field advantage.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (9-3, .750). NFC East leader. Earn first-round bye.

3. Green Bay Packers (8-3, .727). NFC North leader. Host Lions in wild-card round.

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-7, .364). NFC South leader. NFC South’s top-seeded team on basis of head-to-head win vs. New Orleans. Host Seahawks in wild-card round.

5. Seattle Seahawks (8-4, .667). Wild card No. 1. Seeded ahead of Detroit on basis of better record in common games.

6. Detroit Lions (8-4, .667). Wild card No. 2. Seeded ahead of Dallas on basis of better conference record (6-2 vs. 5-4).


7. Dallas Cowboys (8-4, .667.).

8. San Francisco 49ers (7-5, .583).


10. New Orleans Saints (4-7, .364).

13. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1, .318).

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9, .182).

32 responses to “NFC playoff picture: Cowboys under pressure at the quarter pole

  1. Don’t worry cowgirl fans, December is just around the corner. So you’ve probably got you last win of the year.

    I hope you keep JJ forever. As usual, he’s doing a wonderful job. Please give him a huge raise and more authority to run the team better.

  2. Still a lot of football left but all I can think is Eli is one WIDE WIDE WIDE open pass from Dallas lost 4 of their last 5.

  3. “The Legion of Boom”is back!!! Seahawks beating two divisional teams by the same score 19 to 3 and with the games back-to-back 4 days apart. Very impressive.

    Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka should be recognized as player of the month !!

    Go Hawks !!!!

  4. The 5 seed looks great right now, but is Seattle, or whomever, really going to want that seed IF New Orleans gets it rolling?

    Dallas is done. Pretenders exposed on their homefield. Philly really struggled in the redzone. Score was way out of whack. Philly should’ve been near dropping 50 on that overrated Cowboys D.

    The only thing that should really change is the seeding and the winner of the NFCS. New Orleans will right it in time to get in.

    Will Seattle or Arizona be the WC? That is the most interesting thing left in the NFC playoff picture.

  5. The NFC south is abysmal. While the Falcons may be in first place now it’s only because they won the first game of the year against the Saints.
    A lot will happen in the next 5 weeks.

    The cowboys are just doing there late season thing.

  6. Thanksgiving is the start of the playoffs as I see it, especially in the NFC. It would be so much more pleasurable if my team was in contention. Think the teams that are fighting to keep or gain a wildcard spot are the teams that are most dangerous, it’s do or die every week.

  7. Seahawk fans in 2010: doesn’t matter we got into the playoffs and a home game at 7-9! We beat the defending Champs!
    Seahawk fans in 2014: it’s bull we gotta go on to road to a 6-10 team in the playoffs

  8. Pending the outcome of Sunday’s Patriots – Packers game, it appears that Seattle is playing the best football right now. However, their remaining schedule is a killer :
    San Francisco
    St Louis

    They do catch a break by having 10 days to prepare for the Eagles

  9. With five games to go before the end of the season and final records become knownl this analystic scenerio is just a waste of time.

  10. I think playing on Thursday hurt the Cowboys while it didn’t affect the Eagles due to superior conditioning.

    That won’t be a factor next time so I expect the cowboys to put up a better fight. That was about as ugly a game as i’ve seen the Cowboys play this year.

    If the Cowboys lose the next game against the Eagles it’s game over, season over.

  11. Silly cowboy fans. Remember how they actually believed they were the best team in the league a few weeks ago?? Cowboys won’t make the playoffs. Hawks are going to be scary in the playoffs. #gettinghotattherighttime

    Other teams fans envy our teams players. Other teams players envy our teams fans. #choochoohawksdynastytrain
    #12thmanisheretostay #dynastybeforeyoureyes #kissthering

  12. The Cowboys certainly won’t be 8-8 this year. They still play the Bears, Eagles, Colts and Redskins. I think that they’ll lose to the Eagles and Colts and beat the Bears and Redskins. That would put them at 10-6, and in the thick of the wildcard. I do, however, think the Eagles lose next week then win out to take the division at 11-5.

  13. ugh so glad I fell asleep during the 2nd quarter (food coma) Cowboys made me sad, that was a have to win game and now that december is upon us, *sigh* it was nice while it lasted.

  14. Also important is dallas’s division record. Even if Eagles lose their next two games and Dallas wins its next two games (including beating the Eagles), the Cowboys lose the tiebreaker to the Eagles. The Eagles final two games are against Giants and Washington. Say what you will about who the Eagles beat, but one thing we know is that they haven’t lost to a losing team. Same can’t be said for the ‘boys.

  15. No one in the NFC liked what they saw in the game last night. Seattle is back in the hunt for another trophy. That defense needed Chancellor, Wagner, and Maxwell back. And they’ve only given up 6 points in two games. Don’t stumble Arizona or they’ll snatch this division right out from under you.

  16. bleedgreen says: “I do, however, think the Eagles lose next week then win out to take the division at 11-5.”

    Dude, if that happens, they would finish 12-4. Learn to math!

  17. Why are the Cardinals sweating?

    They are looking in their rearview mirror, seeing Richard Sherman’s mug and reading the caption:

    “Objects are closer than they appear!”

  18. The most interesting thing to me is this: for all the talk of the Seahawks missing the playoffs at 7-4, they currently sit 1 1/2 games out of the number one seed and home field advantage in the playoffs.

    They have victories over Green Bay and Arizona. If they beat Philadelphia next week and then Santa Clara… again… the Sunday Night game against Arizona will likely be for the lead in the NFC West and the lead in the race for home field advantage.

    The 11-3 Cardinals at home vs. 10-4 reigning and defending World Champion Seattle Seahawks in the desert… I don’t care who your team is, that game is ratings.

    (Also, the Seahawks don’t play another legit starting quarterback all season.)

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