The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles aren’t just the top two teams in the NFC East at this point, but arguably the entire conference. With six weeks to go in the 2022 regular season, where will the rivals likely finish up in the division race and in the NFC playoff picture?
Right now the Eagles have the best record in football at 10-1. They’re 6-1 against NFC teams and 2-1 in the division, their one loss coming in shocking fashion at the hands of the Washington Commanders. The Cowboys are closely trailing at 8-3 overall, 7-3 in the conference, and 3-1 in the division. They’ve reasserted themselves as a true contender in recent weeks, crushing the Vikings in Week 11 and looking strong against the Giants on Thanksgiving.
Philly won the only meeting so far between them, but that was in Week 6 during Cooper Rush’s run as Dallas’ starting quarterback. We’ll have to wait until Week 16, Christmas Eve, to see these two contenders come to blows at full strength.
Even if the Cowboys can pull that one out, they’ll need at least one more game to swing their way to potentially catch the Eagles in the standings. That would not only mean back-to-back NFC East titles, which this division hasn’t seen in almost two decades, but likely also the number-one seed in the NFC playoffs.
Let’s look at these finals six weeks of the season and see what both Dallas and Philadelphia have waiting for them. Where will be the Cowboys’ best opportunities to hopefully make up ground and get a step ahead of their rivals?
- Cowboys vs Colts
- Eagles vs Titans
This week’s games offer one of the better chances for Dallas to narrow the gap. While they host the struggling Colts at 4-7-1, Philly will be dealing with the 7-4 Titans. Other than their remaining NFC East showdowns against the Cowboys and Giants, this is arguably the toughest game left on the Eagles’ regular-season schedule.
After watching Philadelphia lose to Washington and get pressed by Indianapolis and Green Bay the last few weeks, they don’t have the same momentum as in their earlier games. But by the same token, the Cowboys got embarrassed by that Packers team just a few weeks ago themselves. Perhaps we shouldn’t take the Colts too lightly?
- Cowboys vs Texans
- Eagles @ Giants
This is another big potential week for Dallas. They get what should be a winnable game against the one-win Texans, while the Eagles finally play the Giants for the first time this season.
New York has been one of the scrappiest teams this year, overcoming their weakness at quarterback to currently be 7-4 and a playoff contender. Having already been swept by the Cowboys, the Giants will be anxious to prove their mettle against the other beasts of the NFC East. Philly is certainly the better team on paper, but division games have a funny way of defying common sense.
- Cowboys @ Jaguars
- Eagles @ Bears
Neither Jacksonville nor Chicago presents much of a threat, so this week will come down to how the favorites handle their business on the road. At the very least, Bears QB Justin Fields has become an emerging star this year and could test the Eagles’ defense more than Trevor Lawrence will probably pressure the Cowboys.
- Cowboys vs Eagles
Obviously, this is the signature game left on both teams’ schedules. For Philly, a win here likely secures their lead over Dallas as it would also give them the head-to-head tiebreaker. It’s hard to see a scenario where the Cowboys lose this one but still have enough things fall their way to get a game up on the Eagles. This one is a true must-win scenario for Dallas if they have any realistic shot at winning the NFC East.
- Cowboys @ Titans
- Eagles vs Saints
This is a rough week for the Cowboys. They’ll have a short turnaround from their Saturday game against Philly to a Thursday Night Football road game in Tennessee. What’s worse, the Eagles will be hosting the bottom-dwelling Saints in perhaps their easiest remaining game on the schedule. This could easily be the week that Philadelphia clinches the division.
- Cowboys @ Commanders
- Eagles vs Giants
How relevant will the regular season finales be? It will be a while until we know for sure, but with all four NFC East teams currently in the playoff picture, these games are likely to mean plenty to at least a few of the teams involved.
One interesting element that could come into play is the divisional records for the Cowboys and Eagles. Right now each has just one loss within the NFC East, and that would be the next tiebreaker if they split their head-to-head series. Depending on how Philadelphia’s first meeting with New York and the Cowboys-Eagles showdown in Week 16 go, this could become a key issue in these final games.
Clearly, Dallas has plenty of reason to keep fighting for that division crown. The next two weeks set up well for them to hopefully close the gap by one game, and then they can decide their own destiny in Week 16. But it’s not enough to just sit around hoping for the Eagles to falter; the Cowboys have to prove that their own bad week in Green Bay was a one-time lapse. They have their own remaining games where a letdown could be disastrous.
We’ll see what the remainder of the 2022 regular season means for both the Cowboys and Eagles. We expect them to both be playing in the tournament, but just where they’ll be seeded is still very much up in the air.