Great work Dallas Cowboys. On the day the Green Bay Packers secured the No. 1 seed and lone playoff bye, the Cowboys found a way to snag a bye week of their own and ensure a fresh roster for their entry into the postseason.
While it didn’t go down exactly as we once hoped (to put it mildly), the loss to the Arizona Cardinals made Week 18 of the season a fairly pointless affair. As playoff odds stand now, the Dallas Cowboys are heavy favorites to stay in their current No. 4 spot (they cannot fall lower) in the NFC’s final seeding.
Since the regular season closer against the Eagles is likely to be pointless, the Dallas Cowboys should rest their starters.
As we saw first-hand with Michael Gallup on Sunday, all it takes is one fluke play to end the season of a very important player. If the Dallas Cowboys have nothing to gain by winning on Saturday, why risk it?
As someone who’s obsessed with risk/reward decision-making I’ll answer that for you: You don’t. Risk without reward is something to avoid in all facets of life – not just sports. While the Dallas Cowboys aren’t desperate for rest and will enter the postseason as one of the healthier teams, they could still use the time off and the preparation.
Chances are strong the Cowboys will be facing the Cards in a Wild Card round rematch. It makes sense to keep the focus on the game that matters and not get bogged down in a pointless NFC East affair with the Eagles.
There’s no reason for players like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, or Micah Parsons to play next week. They are too vital to the cause to needlessly put in harm’s way.
Some may poo poo the idea of mailing in Week 18. They look at the 6% chance of improving their standing and want to give it a try. While playing to win each and every week is a noble endeavor, it’s not wise risk assessment. It’s like buying lottery tickets to fund your retirement. You can theoretically win the lottery thus making the strategy work out, but the odds are so far against you it’s a foolish investment strategy regardless of what happens.
The argument for momentum doesn’t even exist since the Dallas Cowboys seem to be impervious to the “momentum fallacy.” They’ve shown they can turn in a brilliant performance after an absolute stinker at any moment. Besides, coming off a stinker like the one against Arizona, there’s no momentum to keep anyway. It’s best we look for a reset and that’s exactly what a week off could provide.
You see? there’s little reason to play the top players next week and the Dallas Cowboys should look at this situation as a blessing in disguise and take advantage.