The Dallas Cowboys lost, what should have been their NFC East clinching match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles, and it’s probably all for the best.
Yesterday the Dallas Cowboys continued their Jekyll and Hyde ways and backed up their season’s best performance against the Rams, with a touchdown-free 17-9 loss to the patchwork Eagles. The loss essentially puts Philly in the drivers seat to win the division and positions the Cowboys to be home for the New Year. And that’s a good thing.
Let’s face it, the NFC East doesn’t deserve the chance to represent in the NFL Playoffs this year. While the cream is rising to the top in divisions elsewhere, the NFC East is nothing more than a contest to see who’s the least terrible. It stands to reason, whoever takes the crown will be quickly dispatched in the playoffs when facing off against legitimate contenders.
Winning the division has disastrous consequences
Without a realistic shot at putting it all together and winning in the postseason, a playoff berth is fairly pointless. If Dallas has taught us anything this season it’s that even if they do get it together for one game, they can’t keep it together for the next. So the “anything can happen in the playoffs” thought process doesn’t really apply to team like Dallas who is perpetually falling short in all areas of the game.
With nothing to realistically gain, the division winner only stands to lose. Lose what? As we’ve discussed in previous weeks, the winner of the division loses in both draft order as well as in schedule.
Whoever wins the division is guaranteed to pick no better than 21st in the draft. The second place team, even if they have the same final record, stands to pick nearly 10 spots earlier. Last season a 7-9 record got you the 13th pick in the draft. The year before it was the 12th pick. And the year before that 7-9 got you the 10th pick.
The winner of the division also gets saddled with a first place schedule. Want to know why nobody repeats as NFC East division winners? This is a big reason why. The difference between a first place schedule and second place schedule is enormous. By losing the division Dallas doesn’t just get better draft picks in each and every round, but they get a much easier schedule in 2020.
Now, normally you happily trade draft position and schedule for a spot in the playoffs, but normally you have a much better team than this entering the playoffs. There’s no reason to think the Dallas Cowboys can correct anything, much less everything. And since they can’t, there’s really no reason to even be in the playoffs.
It’s a good thing Dallas lost in Philly on Sunday because in a way, it saved their 2020 season.