For the first time all season, the Cowboys will be scoreboard-watching. Well, maybe the players themselves won't be looking at the Giants-Eagles as they face the Redskins, but everyone else will be.
It's pretty simple what has to happen for Dallas. The Cowboys must win and the Eagles must lose for them to advance to the playoffs. No other scenario will work, including a tie for either team.
The Eagles have to lose to the Giants and the Cowboys must beat Washington. If that happens, Dallas gets the No. 4 playoff seed and would face the loser of the 49ers-Seahawks that kicks off Sunday night.
So will that happen? The staff writers have shared their gut feelings on the Cowboys games all season. But now we're asking them to see if it'll be good enough to keep playing beyond Sunday.
Rob Phillips: The Cowboys are banged up, but they're less banged up than Washington. All indications are the approach and focus has been good this week despite their gut-punch loss at Philadelphia five days ago. For those reasons, I think they take care of business Sunday and put themselves in position to win the NFC East. As DeMarcus Lawrence told reporters earlier in the week, there's still hope. If Giants running back Saquon Barkley plays like he did last Sunday, with nearly 300 all-purpose yards, New York absolutely has a chance to beat an Eagles team that will be without tight end Zach Ertz in addition to their other injuries. I'll say the Cowboys sneak in and host a playoff game next week. As much of a rollercoaster as this season has been, why not one more ride?
David Helman: Stop me if you've heard this before, but the Cowboys should be able to pull out a win against an injury-depleted team. I know we said that last week, but it's probably even more true on Sunday. Washington isn't a great team when fully healthy, and they are anything but that. They have something like 27 guys on injured reserve heading into this weekend, and they're starting their backup quarterback — along with a secondary full of backups. It probably won't be pretty, but the Cowboys should be able to take advantage. I've got Dak Prescott throwing for 244 and a touchdown, while Zeke Elliott runs for 85 yards and another touchdown, and the Cowboys grind out a 20-16 win. It won't be enough, unfortunately, as I think Philadelphia will handle its business in a 24-14 win against New York that knocks the Cowboys out of the playoffs.
Nick Eatman: My gut feeling is that this won't be the last one. I just think the Cowboys are going to find a way to win this game against Washington. When you have four things going over you, it should be good enough to win. The Cowboys are a better team. They're a healthier team. They're at home and they've got something more to play for. In fact, Washington helps itself more by losing to secure the No. 2 overall pick. All that being said, I think the Cowboys come out and do just enough to get the win. It won't be easy but they beat the Redskins 27-20. Over at the Meadowlands, something just tells me the Eagles' luck comes to an end. They've been fortunate to beat the Giants in OT, the Redskins in the final minute and then Dallas. I think they go on the road and lose to a Giants team that will probably score some points. Philly's last two road games are losses to the Dolphins and a last-minute win over Washington. I think they lose and the Cowboys get in the playoffs and we'll be doing Gut Feeling again next week.
Mickey Spagnola: Even though the Cowboys have lost four of their last five games, and even though Dak hasn't practiced all week, nor Tyron Smith, and now Byron Jones is highly questionable with a sprained ankle, they should be good enough to beat the Redskins. Question is, can the Giants beat the Eagles to vault the Cowboys into an NFC East first-place tie with the Eagles at 8-8, and thus winning the division title based on a better division record. Telling you, don't count the Giants out. Four weeks ago the Eagles at home only beat the Giants, 23-17, in overtime. On top of that, the Eagles didn't score the tying touchdown to send the game into overtime until 1:53 left in the fourth quarter. Carson Wentz had to throw the ball 50 times to win that game. Gut's telling me this is not a layup victory for the Eagles.