NFC playoff picture: Cowboys have a big lead

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The Cowboys are atop the NFC, with room to spare.

At 8-1, the Cowboys have the best record in the NFL and a significant lead in the NFC. Dallas isn’t just aiming for an NFC East title down the stretch; Dallas is the favorite for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

But it’s a crowded field in the NFC, with 14 teams that still have some semblance of playoff hopes. Here’s how it shapes up:

LEADERS
1. Cowboys (8-1): If the Cowboys can go 6-1 in their remaining seven games, they clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs regardless of what anyone else does.

2. Seahawks (6-2-1): Seattle has a two-game lead in the NFC West.

3. Falcons (6-4): Atlanta has a 1.5-game lead in the NFC South.

4. Lions (5-4): Detroit has the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over Minnesota; their Thanksgiving rematch looms large.

5. Giants (6-3): Two games behind the Cowboys in the NFC East, but the leader of the wild card pack.

6. Washington (5-3-1): Tying instead of losing in Week Eight gives Washington a half-game lead in the wild card race.

OTHERS
7. Eagles (5-4): Philadelphia is in a rough spot in the NFC East: They have the seventh-best record in the conference but the fourth-best record in the division.

8. Vikings (5-4): After starting 5-0, the Vikings appear to be in free-fall. But after facing the Cardinals on Sunday, they can jump right back into first place if they beat the Lions on Thanksgiving.

9. Cardinals (4-4-1): Catching the Seahawks in the NFC West is going to be a tall order. But despite a very disappointing start to the season, they’re still just a game out of wild card contention.

10. Buccaneers (4-5): The Bucs’ 4-3 conference record could prove helpful in a playoff race.

11. Packers (4-5): As ugly as they looked on Sunday in Tennessee, they’re still just a game behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North.

12. Rams (4-5): Jeff Fisher didn’t want to see any 7-9 bulls–t this season, but that’s exactly the trajectory his team is on.

13. Saints (4-6): The Saints have nothing but conference games remaining, which gives them a chance to climb up the NFC standings.

14. Panthers (4-6): Can the defending NFC champions get back to the playoffs? At this point they’ll likely have to run the table — and even that may not be enough.

43 responses to “NFC playoff picture: Cowboys have a big lead

  1. Cowboys-Seahawks NFC Championship Game. This game will have a lot of hype but will not be close. If both teams stay healthy to that game, then cowboys are very overmatched personnel wise. Seahawks have a much more talented roster up and down. Make no mistake about it though Cowboys are going to be tough to beat.

  2. I am a lifelong Cowboys fan, but this isn’t a “big lead”. It’s a one-game lead over Seattle and the two other closest teams are tough divisional rivals.

    The story of the NFC at this point looks like the NFC East and the Seahawks.

  3. with the remaining schedule: ravens, redskins,vikings, giants, bucs, lions and eagles–it is not out of the question for the Cowboys to go 6-1 in that stretch, also not a stretch to go 4-3 either–the worst i can see them is 12-4 and the best I can see them is at 14-2, which would guarantee home field.

  4. minson15 says:
    Nov 15, 2016 12:56 PM

    Cowboys-Seahawks NFC Championship Game. This game will have a lot of hype but will not be close. If both teams stay healthy to that game, then cowboys are very overmatched personnel wise. Seahawks have a much more talented roster up and down. Make no mistake about it though Cowboys are going to be tough to beat.
    ————————–
    at full strength the Cowboys dominated the seahawks in seattle (2014), even with cassell ‘the terrible’ at the helm last season the game was very close loss 13-9 if memory serves me right.

  5. Love it that Cowboys fans are already planning their NFC East coronation and discussing strategy how to beat Seattle in the NFCCG. Did you not learn anything from 07′??? That team was twice as good as the one you have now.

  6. jarydcline99 says:
    Nov 15, 2016 1:05 PM
    Just don’t let Romo hold PATs if Seattle meets Dallas in the playoffs.
    ===================
    Hmmm…..Going back 10 years, huh, Jaryd?? There will be NO problems, as long as the game is NOT played in Seattle 🙂 🙂

  7. Dallas would have to get out of divisional round, before even entertains the thought of hosting Seattle in the NFC Championship. In other words…..the team they face in that game, will be better than any win they have had yet this season.

  8. sportoficionado says:
    Nov 15, 2016 1:02 PM
    minson15 says:
    Nov 15, 2016 12:56 PM

    Cowboys-Seahawks NFC Championship Game. This game will have a lot of hype but will not be close. If both teams stay healthy to that game, then cowboys are very overmatched personnel wise. Seahawks have a much more talented roster up and down. Make no mistake about it though Cowboys are going to be tough to beat.
    ————————–
    at full strength the Cowboys dominated the seahawks in seattle (2014), even with cassell ‘the terrible’ at the helm last season the game was very close loss 13-9 if memory serves me right.
    —————————————-
    Uhhhh, Seattle was dealing with the Percy Harvin debacle(traded him that next week after refusing to go in during Cowboy game) and if I remember correctly…..it still took an amazing 3rd and forever sideline catch to win that game in which Seattle was kinda a mess. Seattle has a great defense along with Wilson and crew. Dallas has an amazing Oline. That’s it. Don’t tell me anything else. That is the tail of the tape. Who is better equipped to win if they meet in the playoffs?

  9. Cowboys vs falcons in the nfccg

    Cowboys vs Patriots or Raiders in the Super Bowl

    Cowboys will be the Super Bowl champs with dak as superbowl mvp

    And I’m a niners fan, so I’m not biased. Just keeping it real and honest. The Cowboys with dak at qb are unstoppable. They have an elite rb, elite o line, elite te, elite wr. The defense is questionable but I think that offense can carry them to the Super Bowl and win it.

  10. The cowboys right now are the cream of the crop, but their remaining schedule is not easy. The Giants have what should be two layups the next two weeks (bears and browns). Dont bet your life that the cowboys and giants can’t be tied at 8-3 two weeks from now.

  11. As a Seahawks fan, the only team I am worried about beating us is the Patriots (besides the Seahawks themselves). The Cowboys would be a lot scarier if their “names” didn’t consistently choke. The only “name” that has ever showed up and played lights-out in a big game is Elliott (in college against my Ducks). Looking at the playoff picture for both sides, it is a crazy year for the NFL. NFC East and AFC West are flooding the picture.

  12. logicalvoicesays says:
    Nov 15, 2016 12:52 PM
    Write it down (Pay attention PFT because I’m giving you pearls)

    The Redskins are winning the NFC East.

    Check back with me on December 15 and see how right I am.
    _____________________

    No doubt it will be as accurate as most of your other predictions. How’s that RGme MVP campaign coming? What happened to your Redskins are doomed with Cousins at the helm philosophy?

  13. We’re 1-2 games past the halfway mark. Several teams will deal with more injuries and none of us have a clue what will happen. Right now Dallas and Seattle are the best in the NFC and would make for a good game. Romo isnt holding pat’s anymore but a clipboard instead. Dallas was down 14-0 in Seattle when the cowboys o line and murray jammed it down their throats and that Seahawks D was better than it is now. My opinion doesnt matter but I dont see any team shutting down this Cowboys run game.

  14. Watch out for the Lions and Saints, playing much better ball than beginning of season. Looks like the Falcons have peaked and the Cowboys, well they are the Cowboys. The Seahawks look scary.

  15. justintuckrule says:
    Nov 15, 2016 1:22 PM

    Love it that Cowboys fans are already planning their NFC East coronation and discussing strategy how to beat Seattle in the NFCCG. Did you not learn anything from 07′??? That team was twice as good as the one you have now.

    —–
    reaching like Dhalsim(Street Fighter) with that comment. and twice as good? really? smh.

  16. redandgoldhitman52 says:
    Nov 15, 2016 1:41 PM
    Cowboys vs falcons in the nfccg

    Cowboys vs Patriots or Raiders in the Super Bowl
    ===================

    Falcons? It will be a dogfight for the playoff unproven Falcons to get out of the wildcard round. Who in the divisional round is going into Seattle against even a moderately healthy Hawks team and knocking them off? Wouldn’t bet against Dallas getting to the NFCCG but barring major injury RW will carve that D up.

    The Raiders D probably isn’t getting them to the AFCCG.
    Even if it did it;s hard to imagine any AFC team beating NE at home in the playoffs if NE can hold serve the rest of the way. Likewise if Denver can find a way to get home field that D at home will be hard to beat.

    Super Bowl may well be a rematch between Seattle and one of it’s last 2 SB opponents.

  17. arwiv says:
    Nov 15, 2016 1:41 PM

    The cowboys right now are the cream of the crop, but their remaining schedule is not easy. The Giants have what should be two layups the next two weeks (bears and browns). Dont bet your life that the cowboys and giants can’t be tied at 8-3 two weeks from now.

    —–
    that final stretch will be brutal though–Steelers (could be playing for their division),Cowboys, lions, eagles and finishing with redskins, which could have playoff (seeding) implications or maybe even a win or go home type of scenario, depending now how you make it out of the previous games. Will be interesting to see for sure.

  18. Jackedupboonie said:

    and if I remember correctly…..it still took an amazing 3rd and forever sideline catch to win that game in which Seattle was kinda a mess. Seattle has a great defense along with Wilson and crew. Dallas has an amazing Oline. That’s it. Don’t tell me anything else. That is the tail of the tape. Who is better equipped to win if they meet in the playoffs?
    ============
    Very selective memory. Yeah, dallas had to complete a 3rd and 20 something. That was with 5:00 left in the fourth, and Dallas was losing. Dallas gave Seattle the ball back with 3mins and change on the clock after the going up by 4.
    Seattle went 4 and out, and then held Dallas to a field goal (up by 7) next poss. Bottom line is, your “vaunted” Wilson had two chances to take the lead and failed on both. Seattle lost, despite a gift of 14 points by Dallas.

    As far as Dallas only having a great o-line, get real . You probably cant see anyone’s true colors through those seahawk lenses you are looking though. Dallas is near the top of TOP. Dallas has the best running game in the league. Dallas’ defense has not allowed ANY rushers go for 100 yard, and just allowed a 100 yards from a WR despite previously facing: Alshon, AJ Green, OBJ, Desean Jackson, and Jordy Nelson.
    Prescott is the 4th highest passer this season. And he only went iver 100 on a trick play, where our two best DBs were out.

    Dallas has a better: o-line, RBs, WRs (Dez > Baldwin, Beasley > Lockette/Kearse), Dak > Wilson so far this year, Dallas’ defense has allowed fewer points than Seattle (and fewer points scored is the ONLY defensive stat that matters). Dallas will control TOP through running game, and force you to try and win in the air. And your WRs arent going to be able to beat a healthy secondary when we know its all passing plays. Cincy couldnt, GB couldnt, Eagles couldnt, Steelers couldnt.

    Meep telling yourself that Dallas only has an awesome oline

  19. 6. Washington (5-3-1): Tying instead of losing in Week Eight gives Washington a half-game lead in the wild card race.

    One way to put it. Another would be “missing an overtime field goal in Week 8 gives Washington only a half-game lead in the wild card race”

    They are where they deserve to be, but I don’t follow the implication that they ought to have lost that game..

  20. logicalvoicesays says:
    Nov 15, 2016 12:52 PM
    Write it down (Pay attention PFT because I’m giving you pearls)

    The Redskins are winning the NFC East.

    Check back with me on December 15 and see how right I am.

    *******************************************************

    Well, Dallas is 8-1, the Redskins are 5-3-1….meaning if Dallas simply wins 3 more games, the Redskins have to go 6-1 to close out the year….which means running the table in the division….which includes @Dallas and @Philly. I dont see that happening….and even if Dallas goes 2-5….the Redskins still have to go 5-2.

  21. That one Cowboy fan said Cowboys dominated Seattle in 2014 30-23 is not that dominate. Every year at the start of the season, Seattle starts slow but by the end they are getting in championship form. Which is usually the reserve for the Cowboys.

    I like the way Seattle matches up against Cowboys defense because there is no dominate pass rusher. Teams that give Seattle offensive line trouble teams that put pressure on the offense line. Plus everyone always puts a LOB but Seattle has been a top 6 run defense going back 4 or 5 years.

  22. Grulks says:
    Nov 15, 2016 3:06 PM

    Dallas has a better: o-line,
    —————————
    That was where you should have stopped. Dak is a green rookie, stop trying to put him near Wilson status. Seahawks have a world class D. As a whole, much more talented than your Offense only Cowboys.

  23. I don’t see why the Carolina Paper Tigers and the Losing Lambs from LA are even being considered.

    The fact that the Green Bay Cheeseturds are mentioned is a joke.

    I get the math.

    But seriously, these teams are awful.

  24. REDSKINS. Say it with me, “RED-SKINS.”

    Or as a 6’8″ Scandinavian cattle herder, should I also be offended with the Vikings, Giants & Cowboys nicknames too? Will PFT censor those “racist” names too?

  25. Dallas was down 14-0 in Seattle when the cowboys o line and murray jammed it down their throats and that Seahawks D was better than it is now.

    _____

    SMH…. brings up preseason game… which the Hawks won anyway….

  26. You got a thumbs up from me for the Dhalsim reference. Well done. And yes. The team was twice as good. That team had a defense.

  27. Disregard…… Murray… got it.

    pnwl4a says:
    Nov 15, 2016 5:34 PM

    Dallas was down 14-0 in Seattle when the cowboys o line and murray jammed it down their throats and that Seahawks D was better than it is now.

    _____

    SMH…. brings up preseason game… which the Hawks won anyway….

  28. Jackedupbootie,

    Are you capable of reading?

    Are you really going to argue Wilson has been the better qb THIS YEAR, which is what I stated?
    Dak this year has: more TDs, same cmp%, same INTS, higher rating, longer pass, fewer sacks, more y/a, and more rushing TDs.

    Wilson has 100 more passing yards. You can say “well wilson has been injured” to which I reply that Dak is a rookie and STILL is playing better than Wilson.

    You gonna really argue that Baldwin is better than Dez?
    That either of your number two WRs are better than Beaz (arguably the best slot WR in the game, certainly top 3).

    Yeah, your defense has great players. You’ve given up more points, despite playing MIA, LA (hahaha and they lost, couldnt even score a TD), SF, NYJ, AZ. Since you seem to need tbings spelled out for you, only MIA has a winning record of those teams, and only Ari has pos net points. Those five teams are TERRIBLE. Yet your super duper defense has still given up more points and lost more games than Dallas.

    Like I said, keep believing Seattle is a better team than Dallas in every way except O-line. It isnt, and you’d know that if you werent just a typical Seattle bandwagon fan thats been around for a whopping 4 years

  29. Grulks says:
    Nov 15, 2016 3:06 PM

    “Dallas’ defense has allowed fewer points than Seattle (and fewer points scored is the ONLY defensive stat that matters).”

    ————————–

    You might want to double check your sources. According to both The Football Database.com and NFL.com your assertion is spurious.

  30. ^^ It would appear you are correct. Was reading it on a mobile decice, Jax numbers (right above) looked like Seattle’s.

    Does not change that Dak’s numbers are better than Wilson’s (this year only). Or that you can only say Dallas has a better O-line, thats it.

  31. Half of the Cowboys wins have come against teams that have combined for 6 wins.
    Over half way through the season.
    4 teams.
    6 wins.
    Dak’s numbers may be better at this point but they don’t get to play those 4 teams again. The stats are a byproduct of the O-line.

    In boxing it is said “Everything off the jab”
    In Dallas, it’s everything off the O-line.

  32. You can paint your misleading narrative of Dallas has played 4 teams that have a combined 6 wins, but Dallas cant control whom they play.

    Of their 8 wins, only the Skins, Bears, 9ers, and Browns had a losing record the wekk Dallas faced them. All other teams were .500 or above.

    People said, well dallas hasnt faced a good offense. Wait till they play Cincy. Dallas demolished them, 28-0 at one point. They said, well they havent played anyone with a good defense, wait til they omay GB’s number one D. Dallas steamrolled the ball right down their throats. They said “well they havent played a complete team, like the Eagles. Division game, Eagles will bash them”. Dallas imposed their will.
    They said, Browns are a trap game, Dallas better watch out. Dallas sprung the trap, cleanly. They said “Pittsburgh, with Big Ben, will take them down a peg”. After the game Big Ben said “Dallas is the best team we have faced this year including the Pats”

    If Daks skill and ability is all due to the O-line, how do you explain that Dak has been able to set protection ALL season long? Rookies don’t typically do that. How do you explain is composure during extreme pressure from eagles/steelers? Recognizing the pressure and defenses pre snap and adjusting protection has NOTHING to donwith o-line strength. Being able to keep calm under blitz and still consistently find hot routes isnt about the o-line, its about how good the QB is.

    If Dak isnt as good as you think, how come nearly every sports analyst disagrees with you? You trying to imply you are a better analyst then all of them lol

  33. Nope, I’m implying the hype is distorting reality. Dak is playing well, particularly for a rookie. Zeke is a beast, especially for a rookie. The team is off to a great start, no doubt about that.

    But if you’re going to use who the Seahawks played and the record of those teams as reasoning for perceived Cowboys superiority, expect to have the same reasoning used to exemplify your hypocrisy.

    8 wins. 3 of them against the 3 worst teams in the league. A combined 3 wins between them.
    3 games against teams with winning records, losing 1 of them.
    The Cowboys and Seahawks have 1 opponent in common (until this weekend), the 49ers. Cowboys win 24-17
    Seahawks win 31-7 (granted, Cowboys on the road, Seahawks at home)
    The Cowboys best opponent isn’t as good as the Seahawks best opponent.
    The Seahawks worst opponent isn’t as bad as the Cowboys worst opponent.

    Keep thinking the Cowboys are dominant. It’s all about how the teams matchup anyway.

    There’s still a long way to go, good luck the rest of the season.

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