Cowboys Huddle-Up: Inside Next Moves

After a surprise 12-4 season and a late push for a bye week, Dallas has settled into the third seed in the NFC Playoffs. Here's the total picture, along with the rest of your Monday Cowboys Huddle-Up from inside Valley Ranch!



THE PLAYOFF PICTURE

After their blowout win earlier in the day, 44-17 over Washington, and with the final whistle on the late afternoon games, the Dallas Cowboys have learned their playoff fate. In the final game of Wild Card weekend, Sunday, 440pm Eastern kickoff, the Cowboys now know that they will host the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

The hottest team in the NFL was unable to secure a bye, needing a very unlikely scenario to play out. Dallas (12-4) tied with both Seattle (NFC West Champs) and Green Bay (NFC North Champs), but lose out on the three-way tiebreaker. Due to a better winning percentage in conference games, 10-2, Seattle earns the first overall seed and the first bye.

That puts Green Bay and Dallas in a two-way tie for the Number Two seed and the second bye week. By virtue of the same tiebreaker, a 9-3 conference record over Dallas’ 8-4, Green Bay earns the week off.

NFC SeedTeam
1Seattle (12-4) (BYE)
2Green Bay (12-4) (BYE)
3Dallas (12-4)
4Carolina (7-8-1)
5Arizona (11-5)
6Detroit (11-5)

The matchup with Detroit will give Dallas another opportunity to continue their Payback 2014 Tour. The Cowboys have made a habit of righting wrongs of previous matchups this season. They’ve defeated New Orleans, Seattle and Chicago after tough or embarrassing losses in the last meetings of the teams. They also bounced back from embarrassing 2014 regular season losses to Philadelphia and Washington to blow those teams out in the rematch. Now, they face Detroit.

In their meeting last season, Dallas had a 20-10 fourth quarter lead, but allowed Detroit to score 21 points in the final eight minutes including two touchdowns in the last four, to win 31-30. Two years prior, Dallas blew a 27-3 lead and saw Detroit win the fourth quarter 17-0 for a 34-30 victory.

Matthew Stafford will enter the game 0-16 on the road against teams with winning records for his career.

By virtue of being the third seed, Dallas has their road to the playoffs mapped out. With a win, Dallas would go on the road to face the number two seed, Green Bay. If Dallas was able to make their way to the NFC Championship game, they would either go back to Seattle for the second time this season, or they would host the upset winner of the 4/5 game, Carolina or Arizona.



On the Cowboys plane

Fish was there, Seat 25J, to enjoy the ride after enjoying the game. He writes:

But aside from the slight mathematical chance that Dallas could get home-field advantage throughout the entire playoffs with a Packers-Lions tie, there was another reason for Cowboys Nation to be focused on the deeper meaning of what would become a 44–17 Cowboys victory over the Washington Redskins:

While we were debating the merits of the coach's decision, his charges were completely supporting the coach's decision.

And doesn't that - The almost sacred bond inside a locker room, the shared sacrifice, the obedient faith - matter infinitely more than any concept we as observers might hold dear?

Smile

“Fight,’’ Garrett said, "has been a big mantra for us right from the start, and they demonstrated it day-in and day-out in practice and in the games we have played. We talk a lot about being your best regardless of circumstances. Don't tell me what the circumstances are. Good, bad or indifferent, go be your best. Be your best individually so we can be our best collectively."

There might have been holiday eggnog on the face of the Cowboys had that weird tie come to fruition. It did not. Two other results mean the Cowboys are the third seed and open the playoffs Sunday, Jan. 4 at home in a 3:40 p.m. kick against the Lions.

And now that “The New Season’’ is upon us, given that Dallas hasn't been in the postseason since 2009, only the greediest and most spoiled of cowboys fans should have any problem with any of this.

Get inside the Cowboys team plane for the ride home from D.C. ... as get get "onto The New Season!''

INSIDE WILL McCLAY'S AMBITION

It's a story only CowboysHQ.com can bring you. Fish's Premium piece on the very latest on Will McClay. Fish writes:

It's certainly true that Jerry is the GM, as he's always been, and that along with that ownership self-assignment comes the responsibilities, the hassles ... and the two weekly radio shows on which he gets to spew X-and-O's thoughts and also discuss the difficulty he recently had wrapping fruitcakes as Christmas gifts.

Stephen, the COO of the Cowboys, also has two radio shows and while his on-air/on-camera approach is more stoic than his father's, he certainly enjoys the fruits of power and money and success -- and at 12-4 and surging into the playoffs now for the first time since 2009, the Cowboys have much to enjoy.

And here's the decision -- this year, next year, some year, as long as the Cowboys he's helped build stay built -- that is about to face Will McClay: How much would he enjoy the fruits of power and money and success? Just as the Joneses are exercising their right to plant and nurture their own tree ...

What if Will McClay wishes to do the same?

Smile

The short answer: He does. He most definitely does.


It's the very best in Cowboys coverage and well-worth your dime-a-day: "Cowboys Exclusive: The Ambition of Will McClay.''

By the way, your membership to CowboysHQ Discussion Boards. Join up along with almost 25,000 Cowboys fans!

ROMO FOR MVP?

With an in-depth stat study, we have made the case for Romo as a candidate for MVP. A quick update from our Jordan Ross:

Romo finished the year leading the NFL in QB rating, passer rating, completion percentage, TD percentage, 3rd-down conversion percentage, 1st down percentage and yards per attempt while leading to a 12-4 record a team most though would be close to the inverse of that.

Smile

Does that make him better than Rodgers or whomever? That's not our argument. Candidacy is our argument, as you'll learn when you read the research.

THE FINAL WORD

“No question I'm playing at a level I’m proud of." -- Tony Romo.

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