A rough ending to an otherwise stellar regular season for the Cowboys is enough to warrant some concerns as they head into the first round of the playoffs against the Buccaneers. Though it shouldn't cancel out the fact they were 12-5 again this season, boasted one of the best offensive units in football, and led the league in takeaways for the second straight season.
Nevertheless, the bottom line remains the same: the playoffs don't care what you did in the regular season. Here is where the Cowboys rank in the national power rankings this week.
NFL.com: 1.) San Francisco 49ers 2.) Buffalo Bills 3.) Cincinnati Bengals 4.) Kansas City Chiefs 5.) Philadelphia Eagles
6.) Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: No. 6)
"That's how you go into the playoffs? Cowboys fans are ringing alarm bells after their team finished an uninspired close to the regular season with a lifeless 26-6 loss to the Commanders. Thanks to a win by Philadelphia that kept the No. 1 seed and NFC East title out of Dallas' reach, the game didn't end up meaning anything in terms of playoff positioning -- the fifth-seeded Cowboys will visit the fourth-seeded Bucs on Monday night -- but it's fair to wonder if Dallas will be able to flip the switch on both sides of the ball. Any course correction starts with Dak Prescott, who needs to clean up his turnover-prone ways after a 14-for-37 performance against Washington that included his third pick-six in four weeks. Meanwhile, another one-and-done in the playoffs could put Mike McCarthy on the hot seat. The pressure is building in Big D," - Dan Hanzus
The Athletic: 1.) Kansas City Chiefs 2.) Buffalo Bills 3.) Cincinnati Bengals 4.) Philadelphia Eagles 5.) San Francisco 49ers
6.) Dallas Cowboys (Preseason Rank: No. 11)
No team may have higher stakes in the wild-card round than the Cowboys, who travel to Tampa for the spotlight Monday night game against Tom Brady. Writes Bob Sturm: "Since (Mike) "McCarthy has been hired, the Cowboys are looking for their first playoff win. He cannot go into his fourth year still looking. The McCarthy regime has a must-win game (on) Monday. And yes, Prescott's contract is secured for now, but the future will be cloudy there, too, if there isn't a significant response this week."
That's a lot on the line for a game in which the Cowboys are currently three-point favorites. Their sputtering 26-6 loss to Washington in the regular-season finale didn't end up costing them anything seeding-wise once the Eagles won, but that doesn't release the mounting pressure," - Bo Wulf