First of all, no this is not overly premature. With the possibility of the Eagles and Cardinals losing, and both moving to 5-6, the Cowboys could virtually clinch the Wild Card. How?
-With the Cowboys at 10-1, the Cardinals, Eagles and Redskins would all have to win out to equal the Cowboys record, at 10-6.
-To reach that record, the Eagles and Redskins would have to win their games against the Cowboys, causing a split-season-series, the first tiebreaker.
-The Cowboys, however, already own a 4-0 record in the division, while the Eagles and Redskins are 1-3 within the NFC East. The best division record they could achieve would be 3-3, worse than the Cowboys' 4-2. Therefore, both teams would lose that second tiebreaker to the Cowboys, eliminating them from contention.
-The Cardinals, at 10-6, and without a head-to-head game against the Cowboys, would go instantly to the second tiebreaker, conference record. Right now, the Cardinals are 3-4 in the conference (if they lose to the 49ers, which may soon become an irrelevant point, they will be 3-5 in the NFC). The Cowboys are 7-0 in the NFC. Out of 12 conference games, the worst the Cowboys could do is 7-5, while the best the Cardinals could do (again, assuming a loss to San Fran, which looked more possible when I began this post than it does right now) is 7-5. The tie-breaker would then move to common games winning percentage (which is too tough for me to determine right now).
So, essentially, with a Cardinals loss (and assuming the Eagles lose to the Pats tonight), the Cowboys have nearly clinched a playoff spot.
Edit: If the Saints win out, they will also be 10-6 and the have a 9-3 conference record, better than the Cowboy's potential 7-5 conference record, precluding the Cowboys clinching a playoff spot.
Last edited by JJJ888 : 11-26-2007 at 12:06 AM.