Cowboys Game vs Washington Means Nothing In Terms of Getting a Bye Unless There is a Tie In Week 17

December 22, 2014

Here we go. Our 2nd football post ever. Not as entertaining as our first.

We’re sick of hearing people (, Dallas Morning News) saying the Dallas Cowboys need to win vs Washington to possibly get a bye and the #2 seed in the playoffs.

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Barring a tie in Week 17 it does not matter if the Cowboys win vs Washington this weekend. All that matters in terms of the Cowboys getting a bye is that both Seattle and Arizona have to lose. If that happens, then the Cowboys get a bye even if they lose to the Redskins.

The only way that a win in the final game would help the Cowboys in terms of a bye is if the Detroit-Green Bay or

Here are the scenarios:

1) Arizona and Seattle Both Lose, The Cowboys Get A Bye No Matter What They Do Against Washington.
They both finish 11-5. Seattle wins the division based on better division record. Seattle is the division champs.

If the Cowboys win vs Washington they are 12-4 and get the #2 seed as they have a better record than Seattle at 11-5.

If the Cowboys lose they are 11-5 and still get the #2 seed because they have the head to head win over Seattle.

So the Cowboys  winning or losing vs Washington does not make a difference (unless there is a tie in one of the other games).

2) If Arizona or Seattle Wins, Then the Cowboys Aren’t Going To The Playoff Unless the Detroit/Green Bay Game Ends In A Tie (and they beat Washington).

Why? Well the winner of the Arizona/Seattle game will be 12-4 as will be the Detroit/Green Bay winner.

If they Cowboys beat Washington, they will also be 12-4 and all three division winners will all be 12-4. The Cowboys will lose the tiebreakers to all the teams and be the #3 seed. The first tiebreaker in a three way tie is conference record and even if Seattle was one of the teams at 12-4 the Cowboys would not get the bye, as Seattle only has 2 conference losses and will be the #1 seed. Green Bay (3 NFC losses) or Detroit (2 NFL losses) would be the #2 seed and the Cowboys, who have already lost 4 times to NFC teams, would be the #3 seed under this scenario.

Now, if the Detroit/Green Bay game ended in a tie, then a win by the Cowboys would be important as it would give them the #2 seed.

3) What about a Tie for Arizona or Seattle?

If Seattle ties its game, the Cowboys would get a bye as the #2 seed by beating/tying Washington assuming Arizona also loses (and Detroit/Green Bay doesn’t end in a tie).

If Arizona ties its game, the Cowboys would get a bye by defeating Washington and having Seattle lose/tie it’s game.

4) The One Way For The Cowboys To Get The #1 Seed

One more thing, the Cowboys can still get the #1 seed. The only way this happens is if Detroit/Green Bay tie, Arizona loses and the Cowboys win.


Barring a tie in the Green Bay-Detroit game or one of the Arizona or Seattle games, whether the Cowboys win on Sunday vs Washington means nothing. It’s a glorified preseason game, except Demarco Murray could get the Cowboys single season rushing record of Emmitt Smith.

Want to jinx the Cowboys? Read this messageboard discussion: Dallas Cowboys Best Team in the NFL?