After a two-year absence, the Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoffs. By virtue of the 49ers’ loss to the Titans on Thursday night, the Cowboys officially punched their ticket to the postseason and will compete for the franchise’s sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy when the playoffs begin on Jan. 15.
The Cowboys have checked off the first box on their holiday wish list. The next goal for the Cowboys is capturing the NFC East division crown, which they can achieve this Sunday with a win over Washington. Dallas (10-4) is also in the hunt to capture the NFC’s only playoff bye, along with the defending champion Buccaneers, Rams and Cardinals.
Currently No. 2 in the NFC standings, the Cowboys are just one game back of Green Bay (11-3) with three games remaining. The Cowboys finish the regular season with a home game against Arizona (10-4) and a road game against Philadelphia (7-7). The Packers have upcoming home games against Cleveland (7-7) and Minnesota (7-7) before closing out the regular season in Detroit (2-11-1).
The Cowboys have been buoyed by the NFL’s second-ranked scoring offense and seventh-ranked scoring defense. Dallas’ offense has been led by quarterback Dak Prescott, who will likely run away with the Comeback Player of the Year award. While CeeDee Lamb has emerged as his favorite target, Prescott has spread the wealth to his teammates, as seven different Cowboys have caught at least 30 passes. The Cowboys’ running game has relied on Ezekiel Elliott and the emergence of Tony Pollard, as the two have combined to run for 1,538 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Cowboys’ skill players have benefitted from the blocking of Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, who on Wednesday were selected to their eighth and seventh Pro Bowls, respectively.
The Cowboys have two more Pro Bowlers on the defensive side in second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs and rookie linebacker Micah Parsons. Diggs has pulled…