The way the Dallas Cowboys are playing these days, they may never win a game again, and it may ultimately be in their best interests to do just that…
As things stand today, the Dallas Cowboys are in possession of first place in the NFC East. If they can hang on, they look to host a playoff game in the Wild Card round of the postseason. And once the postseason begins, anything can happen. Right (he sarcastically queries boisterously to readers)?!?
But who here in the classroom actually sees that happening? Not winning the NFC East crown (they may win that just by sucking a little less than their division brethren), I’m talking about turning things around in virtually all phases of the game, and mounting a legitimate playoff push under the leadership of Jason Garrett and staff. Who sees THAT happening?
Having been an unabashed optimist all season long, I’m finally ready to accept reality. There are too many things wrong with this team to fix and even if the Dallas Cowboys are able to advance to the postseason, the likelihood of them beating someone is extremely slim. I mean, Dallas hasn’t beaten anyone with a winning record all season long, why would we expect them to beat a playoff team when the stakes are higher and coaching, execution, and game-plans are at their most important?
To be clear, I’m not suggesting the Dallas Cowboys “tank” the season. But if the Cowboys lose out and come in second place in the NFC East – it would be a good thing.
The difference between winning the division and coming in a close second is going to be enormous. Let’s say Dallas and Philly both continue to struggle and both ultimately finish 7-9 with Dallas taking both head-to-head match-ups. Dallas would win the crown and move on to the postseason and Philadelphia would go home and empty their lockers.
But even with a home game in the Wild Card round, Dallas would be major underdogs against Seattle, Minnesota, and the like. They’ll probably be the biggest Wild Card underdogs in the last decade considering the dysfunction. So basically, we’re looking at a one-and-done postseason appearance.
NFL Draft Ramifications
Generally speaking, the NFL Draft order is based on record. But when one terrible division advances their least terrible team to the postseason, record gets “trumped”, so to speak. The Dallas Cowboys could finish 7-9, but if they win the division, they automatically move back to spot 21 (or worse).
Meanwhile, Philadelphia would be awarded a premium pick with the exact same 7-9 record. Last season a 7-9 record would have given you draft slot 13. In 2018 that record could get you the 12th pick. In 2017 The Bills finished 7-9 and they picked 10th overall.
Anyone who follows the draft knows there’s a significant difference in quality from just one pick to the next – let alone between pick 10 and pick 21. Now, judging the current landscape, it appears a 7-9 (non-division winning) record should net the 13th pick in the draft. And if the NFC East champ loses in the Wild Card round, which is about as safe as an assumption anyone could make, then that’s a pretty big disparity in draft position for finishing with the exact same record.
And I don’t have to remind you, that draft disparity continues in each round past the first. That would put the division losing 7-9 team at a decided advantage over the division winning 7-9 team.
Next Season’s Schedule
The NFC East is well known for producing a new champion each year. Some of that has to do with how close the race is each year, but arguably the biggest reason is the strength of schedule. If you finish first one season, you play a first place schedule the next season.
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The tougher schedule brings on more losses and hence, we see very few repeat champions in the NFC East. Whoever wins this season, will face the superior opponents in 2020. Historically, the schedule is a predictor of success (or failure) so whoever wins this “lost season of 2019” will likely lose the 2020 season. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather save my chips to play in 2020 than push them all in and bet big on the dumpster fire of 2019.
Let me reiterate – I’m not calling for Cowboys Nation to cheer against Dallas these last few weeks. I’m simply stating it would be in the best interests of the team if they lost the division this season because it would better position the franchise in 2020 and beyond. So if they do lose out, be comforted it’s for the greater good.
The past three seasons, 6-10 football teams have picked in the top-10 of the draft. Again, the worst playoff team can pick no better than 21st. Add 2020 strength of schedule into the consequences of winning and you have a much rosier future for whichever franchise comes in 2nd place in the NFC East.
Finishing in second place in the NFC East means better draft picks in 2020 and a better schedule. All paving the way for a more promising future. Unless you truly believe Jason Garrett’s team has what it takes to go to the Super Bowl this year, making the playoffs is a pretty pointless achievement this year. And frankly, harmful to the franchises future.
- Published on 12/10/2019 at 12:14 PM
- Last updated at 12/10/2019 at 12:14 PM