And just like that, the Cowboys are now on a short week.
After losing what Dallas might have hoped would be a statement game to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys were dealt a little bit more potentially frustrating news Sunday night. The NFL announced that the Cowboys' regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles will be flexed from Sunday at Noon to a primetime Saturday night matchup (January 8), meaning the Cowboys will have to travel to Philadelphia on a short week.
The game is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. (CT) on ESPN/ABC at Lincoln Financial Field.
While the Cowboys have already clinched the NFC East and the Eagles will have already clinched a playoff spot, both teams could improve their playoff seeding in the final game of the year depending on how other matchups next weekend play out.
The Cowboys beat the Eagles 41-21 back in Week 3, but Philadelphia has won four straight and six of their last seven games coming into the NFL's first ever Week 18.
While the NFL's primary motivation in leaving scheduling flexibility heading into the season's final weekend is so that they can prioritize meaningful games that have some sort of playoff implications, it is possible that they are also looking ahead to which Wild Card games might potentially be scheduled on a Saturday the following week. By making the Cowboys and Eagles on a Saturday night Week 18 matchup, the NFL could be planning to schedule the Cowboys' first playoff game on the following Saturday (January 15) as well.
Either way, a silver lining and potential advantage for the Cowboys is that while they will have a short week coming up, after traveling back from Philadelphia they will have seven or eight days to prepare for their first playoff game.