Team Insider Unveils Path to NFC East Title for 4-9 Cowboys

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys aren’t dead yet.

With Sunday’s 30-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cowboys avoided mathematical elimination from playoff contention and kept hope alive for the NFC East crown.

ESPN beat reporter Todd Archer explained how Dallas can sneak into the postseason tournament with a final record of 7-9: “They win their last three and the Washington Football Team loses its last three. If Washington wins one more game, the Cowboys are eliminated because they lose the tiebreaker to Washington.”

Simple as that.

Having swept the Cowboys and won three straight games, 6-7 Washington sits fairly comfortably atop the division. They’re slated to close the 2020 campaign at home against the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers before facing the Eagles in Philadelphia. It’s likelier the Football Team, given its menacing defense, wins out rather than loses three more times.

Dallas, meanwhile, is left with a troika of NFC affairs; they’ll take on San Francisco and Philadelphia at home in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively, before hitting the road for New York.

As of this writing, ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Cowboys a 0.7% chance of capturing the East. Washington is the odds-on favorite at 68.2%.

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McCarthy Seeks Strong Finish

Berth or no berth, winning record be damned, the Cowboys will attempt to end this dreadful year — cursed by merciless injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic — with a bang. Pride is on the line for players and coaches alike, none of whom want to carry double-digit losses into 2021.

Experience was a significant factor in Mike McCarthy succeeding Jason Garrett. And sure enough, the ex-Green Bay Packers head coach has been here before, resigned to the potential moral victory that is momentum for the future.

“I made reference to it in a team meeting earlier this week. I thought that it was one of the foundation blocks for my time in Green Bay, those last four wins, because it was something that we built on, talked about and emphasized throughout the whole offseason,” McCarthy said Sunday, via ESPN. “Then in [2007], we were an overtime loss away from being in the Super Bowl. So, I definitely do believe that success at the end of the season catapults you into your offseason program and can very well factor into next year because, let’s be honest, if you start fast in this league you’re at such an advantage as the season moves on. So, to accomplish [finishing 4-0], would say a lot about our football team, especially what we’ve gone through.”

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Dalton Reacts to Pasting Bengals in Revenge Game

His Cowboys teammates treated Andy Dalton as if he won the Super Bowl following their Week 14 win against the Bengals. Because this was the veteran quarterback’s Super Bowl.

Aided by a stunningly active defense that forced three turnovers and scored on a fumble-six, Dalton was accurate and poised amid his #RevengeGame at his old stomping grounds. He completed 16-of-23 attempts for 185 yards, two TDs, and zero interceptions, finishing with a sterling 122.6 QB rating.

Dalton, of course, was unceremoniously dumped by the Bengals in May after QB Joe Burrow became the No. 1 overall pick. Thus ended a decade-long reign under center which featured more than 34,000 passing yards, 200 touchdowns, 70 wins, and three Pro Bowl trips for the 2011 second-round draft pick.

“One of the coolest things was the sign that was up there (in the stadium) that said, ‘Thank you Andy and JJ for changing lives,’ Dalton said, per the team’s official website. “That’s what we tried to do while we were here and use our platform for good and show God’s love to a lot of people. I felt like that was a great reception to come back and feel that today.

“This one was special. Obviously, it’s a team that I played at for a long time. You want to do everything you can to win, and I thought our team played really well.”

READ NEXT: Jerry Jones Hints at Huge Changes to Cowboys’ Coaching Staff

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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