With the NFL headed into the final week of the regular season, you’d think that the playoff picture would be clearing up, but that’s not the case for the Dallas Cowboys.
Although the Cowboys have already clinched a playoff spot, they still don’t have any idea who they’ll be playing in the wild-card round and things won’t be clearing up until Sunday. As things currently stand, there are SEVEN different teams that the Cowboys could be playing in the opening round, which is wild, when you consider that there are only 16 teams in the NFC.
Let’s take a look at all their possible opponents for the opening round of the playoffs and what would have to happen for that matchup to take place.
Cowboys vs. NFC South winner
For the Cowboys to play the NFC South winner, Dallas would have to get the fifth seed in the NFC. The only way that scenario is possible is if the Cowboys lose to the Commanders and the Eagles beat the Giants.
If that plays out, the Cowboys would then face the Buccaneers, Saints or Falcons. Here’s what would need to happen for each of those games to take place (This all assumes the Cowboys get the fifth seed).
- Cowboys at Buccaneers. This game happens if the Buccaneers beat the Panthers in Week 18.
- Cowboys at Saints. This game happens if the Bucs lose to the Panthers AND the Saints beat the Falcons.
- Cowboys at Falcons. This game happens if the Bucs lose to the Panthers AND the Falcons beat the Saints.
Remember, these scenarios can only happen if the Cowboys DON’T win the division. Let’s take a look at who Dallas might play if they DO win the division.
Cowboys win the division
To win the NFC East, Dallas simply has to beat the Commanders and that will lock up the two seed. At that point, the Cowboys would then play the seventh seed and that team could be the Packers, Seahawks, Vikings, Rams or Saints.
Here’s what would need to happen for each of those games to take place (This all assumes the Cowboys win the NFC East).
Packers at Cowboys. This game happens if the Packers beat the Bears in Week 18 PLUS the Rams beat the 49ers.
Rams at Cowboys. This game happens if the Packers beat the Bears in Week 18 PLUS the Rams LOSE to the 49ers.
Seahawks at Cowboys. This game happens if the Seahawks beat the Cardinals PLUS the Packers lose to the Bears.
Saints at Cowboys. This game happens if the Saints beat the Falcons PLUS the Buccaneers beat the Panthers PLUS the Seahawks and Packers both lose.
Vikings at Cowboys. This game happens if the Vikings beat the Lions PLUS the Seahawks and Packers both lose PLUS the Falcons beat the Saints. This game can also happen if the Saints beat the Falcons, but in that situation, the Buccaneers would have to lose to the Panthers along with the Vikings winning plus the Packers and Seahawks losing.