The Dallas Cowboys must keep pace with the NFC contenders – The Landry Hat

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys are in prime position to earn a playoff spot and host the game as a result of winning the NFC East this season. Their first goal of getting into the playoffs might be a foregone conclusion if the team can regain the magic they had during their six-game winning streak.

The next goal this team should have is to attempt to gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by earning the number one seed. No matter what odds people are playing, continuing to win should be the priority.

What I mean by that is earning the number one seed isn’t the only remaining obstacle, avoiding the NFC West is. With seven teams now able to gain access into the playoffs, positioning yourself for a better matchup is critical. The number one seed is the only team that gets the first-round bye. That means the second seed will host a wildcard game.

The NFL has a simple playoff format meaning the number two seed plays the seventh seed. The third seed plays the sixth and finally, the fourth seed plays the fifth. The NFC is really top-heavy meaning the second seed will get a team that sneaks into the playoffs. Right now, that seventh seed is currently the Atlanta Falcons. They would travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers if the playoffs started today.

The Dallas Cowboys must avoid the NFC West for the best NFL Playoffs matchup possible

Green Bay has the same amount of losses as Dallas but currently has one more win. That Denver loss was big in terms of playoff positioning. The sixth seed is currently held by the New Orleans Saints who would in turn travel to Tamp Bay for what would be their third matchup of the season. Tampa and New Orleans reside in the same division. In an interesting twist, Tampa needs to figure out how to beat New Orleans in the regular season and the Saints need to figure out Tampa in the playoffs.

Since Dallas lost to Tampa and both teams currently have the same record, Tampa would have the higher seed meaning the Cowboys would be relegated to the fourth seed and would more than likely have to face the loser of the NFC West.

With the Arizona Cardinals having the best record in the NFL, The Cowboys would host the Los Angeles Rams wildcard weekend. If the Rams can catch the Cardinals, Arizona would travel to Dallas wildcard weekend for a Week 17 rubber match.

Tampa Bay, Arizona, and the Los Angeles Rams are the only teams in the NFC to score more than the Cowboys and give up fewer total points. I think the Cowboys can beat anybody in this league but why make things harder?

Luckily, the Cowboys have the second-easiest remaining schedule behind the Philadelphia Eagles. Tampa comes in fourth while the Cardinals come in 19th. The Rams come in 23rd while the Green Bay Packer’s 29th most difficult remaining schedule. Advantage Dallas but can they capitalize?

The Packers have to face the Rams while the Rams and Cardinals still have another division game on the horizon. That potentially means good news for the Cowboys. The Cardinals still have to face the Seattle Seahawks twice this season and travel to Dallas late in the season.

I don’t know about you but this weekend’s matchup against Atlanta could be the prize for gaining the second seed. It’s not the first-round bye the Cowboys would love to have but I believe it’s the safest opening opponent this team could have considering the options.

Yes, there is still half a season of football to be played and anything can happen. This is just the likeliest of scenarios to play out from what I have seen from the NFL this season. This weekend’s game against Atlanta could be a wildcard weekend preview. No matter what they are dealt, the Cowboys need to understand that the bye is everything right now but it isn’t the only thing moving forward.