FRISCO, Texas – The NFL knows how to create some drama when it sees an opportunity.
The league announced Tuesday morning that it was flexing Sunday's Week 16 matchup between Washington and Carolina, moving the game to 3:05 p.m. CT.
That's a significant development for the Cowboys, given that their playoff hopes hinge on the outcome.
Prior to this schedule change, Washington and Carolina were scheduled to kick off at noon. With a Washington win eliminating Dallas from playoff contention, the Cowboys were slated to kick off against Philadelphia at 3:25 p.m. already knowing whether they still had a chance at a division title.
The games figure to carry significantly more intrigue now that they're happening simultaneously. Both the Cowboys and Eagles need a Washington loss to the Panthers to keep their playoff hopes alive. If they get it, then the winner of their divisional matchup will enter Week 17 with at least a slim chance of winning the NFC East.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was asked about this situation on Monday night, before the league changed the schedule, and he said it had no effect on his approach to the final two weeks of the season.
"We're going to prepare all week and we're going to line up to play to win," he said. "It's important for us to win these last two games and let the chips fall where they may. That's the message to the team. That will be my focus. Nothing will change that."
McCarthy doesn't have to worry about it now. The Cowboys still need a Washington loss just as much as they did before – but now they won't know if they got it until their own game is over.
The Cowboys will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in their last home game of the regular season on Sunday, Dec. 27 at 3:25 p.m. A limited number of tickets are on sale now. Get yours now before they sell out!
Details on all of the health and safety procedures you can expect at AT&T Stadium can be viewed at www.DallasCowboys.com/safestadium.