EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – If there is any consolation for missing the playoffs, the Cowboys will likely feel it come April in the NFL Draft.
By finishing 8-8, the Cowboys will get the 14th overall pick in the first round. Dallas is one of seven teams with an even .500 record but will pick second among those teams.
It will be the second time to have a Top 15 pick in consecutive years since they drafted eighth in 2002 and fifth in 2003.
Had the Cowboys defeated the Giants, they would've been at least 21st in the draft order.
Here are the first 20 picks of the teams that missed the playoffs.
- Indianapolis (2-14)
- St. Louis (2-14)
- Minnesota (3-13)
- Cleveland (4-12)
- Tampa Bay (4-12)
- Washington (5-11)
- Jacksonville (5-11)
- Carolina (6-10)*
- Miami (6-10)*
- Buffalo (6-10)
- Kansas City (7-9)
- Seattle (7-9)
- Arizona (8-8)
- Dallas (8-8)
- Philadelphia (8-8)
- NY Jets (8-8)
- Oakland (8-8)
- San Diego (8-8)
- Chicago (8-8)
- Tennessee (9-7)
(*The Carolina-Miami order will be decided by a coin flip.)
2012 Opponents Set
Because they were swept by the Eagles, the Cowboys finish third in the NFC East, meaning they will play the third-place finishers in the NFC North and NFC West next year.
With that, the Cowboys will play at Seattle and host the Bears. That's at least better than facing Green Bay and San Francisco.
Here are the opponents for next year. The full schedule is typically announced by the NFL in April.
Home: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Chicago, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington.
Away: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington.
Not So Sneaky
Although the outcome ultimately cost them clock time and little else, the offense missed a scoring opportunity at the start of the fourth quarter when quarterback Tony Romo got stuffed on a fourth-and-1 sneak at the Giants' 10-yard line.
On third-and-7, Romo found tight end Jason Witten across the middle for six yards and then moved to the line quickly, trying to snap the ball and get the extra yard before the Giants' defense could get set.
"The call comes in from the sideline, but I agreed with the call," Romo said. "Obviously we would have liked to have gotten it. They did a good job getting ready for it."
The Giants went three-and-out on the next series and Romo needed only three plays to find Laurent Robinson for a 6-yard touchdown pass that made the score 21-14. Three minutes and 40 seconds ticked off between then and Romo's failed sneak.
"It was one of those decisions where we were down two touchdowns at the time and we had been moving the football really well," head coach Jason Garrett said, "and we thought we had a good opportunity to cash in and get a touchdown at that point and make it a one-score game with the time that we had left.
"That was an opportunity we tried to be aggressive with, and they just made a really good play."
Streaks & Milestones:
- With 300 total yards on Sunday, the Cowboys finished the year with 6,008 yards, the second-highest single-season total in franchise history, trailing only the 6,390 set in 2009. The Cowboys had the seventh-highest in 2007 (5,851) and eight-best in 2010 (5,828).
- With two touchdown catches, Laurent Robinson became the eighth different player to have double-digit TD grabs in a season and it marks the fifth time in the last six seasons.
- Had Dez Bryant (nine) or Miles Austin (seven) gotten to double figures, it would've been the first time in franchise history to have two players with at least 10 TD catches.
- For the third time in his career, Tony Romo surpassed the 4,000-yard mark in a season. Romo finished with 4,184 yards this year, becoming the 14th player in NFL history to have at least three 4,000-yard seasons.
- Romo now has the three highest passing seasons in franchise history. His 4,184 yards in 2011 in the third-best, trailing his 4,483 yards in 2009 and 4,211 yards in 2007.
- With 31 TD passes, Romo becomes the 19th quarterback in NFL history to have more than one season of at least 30 TD tosses. Romo holds the franchise record with 36 set in 2007.
- Romo just missed tying his single-season record for completions. He finished with 346 this year, one short of the franchise-record 347 in 2007.
- Romo's 102.5 quarterback rating is the highest he's finished for an entire season.
- DeMarcus Ware just missed becoming the first player in NFL history to have two 20-sack seasons in his career. Ware finished with 19.5 sacks.
- Jason Witten finished the year with a team-high 79 catches. It's the fifth time in his career to lead the team.
- With 942 receiving yards, Witten now owns the top six single-season marks by a Cowboys tight end.