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Gut Feeling: Cowboys vs. Commanders in Week 18


The Cowboys have one regular-season game to play, and so much is still unsettled regarding the playoff picture.

The Cowboys are sitting in the No. 5 spot, scheduled to play Tom Brady and the Bucs next weekend unless a few things change. The Cowboys can still get the No. 1 and No. 2 spots but need some help. If the Eagles and 49ers both lose, coupled with a Cowboys win, they'll have a first-round bye and claim the No. 1 seed. If the Eagles lose but the 49ers beat the Cardinals as expected, the Cowboys will be No. 2 and play at home next week against the No. 7 seed, which could be against the Packers.

Either way, there will be a lot of scoreboard watching alongside this game.

Check out what our staff writers think will happen this weekend in Washington and other NFL cities.

Patrik Walker: It's going to the wire, folks. While some would've preferred the Cowboys wave the white flag on the NFC East by sitting starters against the Titans, they thankfully did not, and the Eagles' loss to the Saints was a reward for Dallas' thought process. And with a shot at the division crown, and possibly more, on the line this Sunday against the Washington Commanders, the Cowboys are pedal to the floor. It's a good thing, too, because despite the Commanders having now been eliminated from playoff contention, they'll likely leave it all on the field as a means of ruining the Cowboys chances of improving their playoff seeding while also, for many, trying to make sure they have a job in Washington in 2023. It's too bad for them that the Cowboys aren't letting up though, and with starters taking the field on Sunday to ensure they don't, they'll try to break the Commanders spirit by halftime. Eliminate the mistakes and they'll do just that in what should be a blowout win to secure the 2022 season sweep; and maybe more. 45-10 Cowboys

Nick Eatman: Not any easy game to predict and the main reason for that is Washington. Sure, the Cowboys need to win this game and will go out and play that way. For the Commanders, it's a different story and getting into the psyche of that locker room is a challenge. Do they roll over because the season is over and there will be no playoffs? Are they injured to the point where many key players will sit? Or do they play loose and fast and go out to spoil the Cowboys' chances of winning the division, something that would definitely give their fan base a boost (much more than a friendly pig mascot) heading into the offseason. But how the Commanders play will only play into the final score. I see the Cowboys scoring a lot of points once again and getting to 30 points. Washington, behind its rookie Sam Howell at QB, will move the ball and show some life. But ultimately, I've got the Cowboys winning this one 30-21, but I still think they'll have the No. 5 seed with an Eagles win.

Hailey Sutton: There's been a lot going on this week that have made it hard to focus on Washington. Damar Hamlin's injury, the Hall of Fame selections, the playoff picture; it just seems like things have been bigger that the regular season finale against the postseason-less Commanders. But as Mike re-emphasized in his final press conference on Friday, the Cowboys have the goal of winning the game and giving all their energy to that task. They'll face yet another backup quarterback with limited tape, providing even more challenges in the preparation, as well as the most efficient third-down defense in the league. All good things to face before the final guaranteed game of the season, though. I think this game gives the Cowboys an opportunity to address their weaknesses, solidify some spots and hopefully walk away with a franchise-tying 13th win. It won't be easy – the Commanders are scrappy and like to play spoiler – but give me Dallas with the dub 33-21.

Kyle Youmans: Usually when one team still has everything to play for and another that doesn't have anything to play for, things can get wild. Washington has a talented roster on paper but for some reason just couldn't fully convert in key situations this season. So there's an added frustration on how things went for them this season. While Dallas needs their own domino (a win) to fall first before they can hope for any playoff rewards. I anticipate Dallas taking full advantage of a ramp-up opportunity by taking care of business early and often against Washington before pulling the starters late. Dallas gets win number 13 in a big way, 41-20.

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