The Dallas Cowboys have clinched a spot in the 2021 NFL Playoffs, but now what? Owner Jerry Jones says he will release Garrett at season’s end. Will Jerry keep his word or backtrack if things don’t go according to plan come September?
The “cowboys’ chances of making the playoffs 2020” is a question that has been asked many times. The Dallas Cowboys have clinched a spot in the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Now what?
For the first time in three seasons, the Dallas Cowboys are in the NFL playoffs. The Boys have sealed their position in the dance despite not having played a game in Week 16 courtesy to the Tennessee Titans’ win against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.
All the Cowboys have to do now is figure out where they’ll mail the “thank you” card.
Before the regular season ends and the playoffs begin, there are a couple more things Dallas may want to do. There are three areas in particular that the Cowboys should be working on next.
On offense, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys must improve.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott #4 passes the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21 | Tom Pennington/Getty Images
On paper, the Dallas offensive is ranked second in the league, behind only the reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys average 28.6 points per game, second only to Tampa Bay’s 29.3. They also top the league in offensive yards per game (403.3) in total offense yards (5,646).
That doesn’t seem to be a problem crime, does it?
The Cowboys are excellent on paper. However, if you really watch the games, you’ll see that Dallas has a few issues to address before the playoffs begin.
First and foremost is quarterback Dak Prescott, who has five touchdowns and five interceptions in his last five games. That’s good enough to beat the Saints, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants, but those three teams have a combined 17-25 record.
Against the Packers, Buccaneers, and Rams, a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 1-1 will not suffice.
The Cowboys have also struggled on third down, and much of it can be attributed to Prescott and his arm.
Dallas has gone 2-of-13 on third down against the Saints, 7-of-18 against Washington, and 8-of-14 against the Giants during their three-game winning run. This season, the Cowboys have a fourth-down percentage of 41.27 percent, which is in the top half of the league. With being stated, during the previous three games, that number has dropped to 37.78 percent, which is towards the bottom of the league.
Between Week 16 and the playoffs, this must be resolved.
The Cowboys must regain and maintain their health.
Dallas Cowboys #21 Ezekiel Elliott, #4 Dak Prescott, and #42 Keanu Neal wait in the tunnel before their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium | Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Despite the NFL’s current COVID-19 epidemic, the Cowboys’ health has been a concern all season. I was just looking at the injury list for the game against Washington in Week 16. Dallas would want to have at least two key players back to full health before the playoffs begin.
The first is Ezekiel Elliott, who has spent most of the season nursing a knee ailment. Rest aside, there isn’t much Elliott can do to enhance his fitness throughout the season, although he has been playing better recently and seems to be more supple. If the Cowboys can swiftly close up the NFC East and provide Zeke some rest or at the very least a lighter burden over the next few weeks, one can only image how that would improve his explosiveness in a playoff game.
Tyron Smith, an eight-time Pro Bowler, is another option at left tackle. He’s missed many games this season due to an ankle ailment, and his status for the next game against Washington is now labeled as “questionable.” The Cowboys won’t need him to defeat Washington, but they’ll want him to be as healthy as possible when they face some of the best pass rushers in the NFC in the playoffs.
Elliott and Smith are two obvious examples, but at this point in the season, health, or a lack thereof, is frequently the difference between making it to the playoffs and falling short.
While Dallas will surely want to conclude the regular season on a high note, the greater picture must also be kept in mind.
The Cowboys must make an impression.
The Cowboys, speaking of “pedal to the metal,” have a chance to reach the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, not just in the NFC.
The Cowboys’ three-game winning run is impressive, but they have a good chance to increase it before the regular season ends.
Dallas defeated Washington on the road two weeks ago. Washington has now dropped two consecutive games, and the Cowboys should be able to upset the Redskins at home on Sunday Night Football.
The Cardinals’ matchup with Dallas in Week 17 might be a great postseason preview for the Cowboys, but this isn’t the same Arizona club that was recently ranked first in the NFC. The Cardinals have lost two consecutive games as of this writing, including a major upset loss to the Detroit Lions. In Week 16, Arizona will play a good Indianapolis squad, thus the Cardinals might be on a three-game losing streak and entirely depleted of confidence.
The Eagles are the Cowboys’ last but not least opponent. Sure, an NFC East foe, particularly one with the potential to be a surprise for Dallas, should never be counted out. With that stated, the Cowboys defeated the Eagles 41-21 in Week 3 of the regular season. If the Cowboys keep rolling, it’ll be difficult to anticipate a different result.
If Dallas can enter the playoffs with a 13-4 record and a six-game winning streak, it would make quite a statement for a team that many consider to be “all bark and no bite.” It may possibly be enough to secure Dallas the NFC’s top seed.
Yes, the playoffs are a done deal. For the Cowboys, this is a foregone conclusion. As the regular season draws to a conclusion, there’s still a lot on the table and a lot more to accomplish.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provides contract information.
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The Dallas Cowboys have clinched a spot in the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Now What? As soon as the Cowboys made it, they’ll be playing for a chance to go to Super Bowl LVI. The question is what will happen after that? Will the cowboys win their first Super Bowl or not? Reference: did the cowboys make the playoffs in 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did the Cowboys clinch a playoff spot 2021?
Has Dallas clinched a playoff spot?
A: No, Dallas has not clinched a playoff spot. They need to win the next two games in order for that to occur.
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