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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Cowboys Return to Playoffs Ensured by 49ers Loss

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Dallas Cowboys players taking a knee on the field before game against the New York Giants. | Image by Smiley N. Pool, The Dallas Morning News

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The wait is finally over for Dallas Cowboys fans. On Thursday Night Football, the Tennessee Titans defeated the San Francisco 49ers 20-17, giving Dallas the edge in the NFC and ensuring that the Cowboys would see postseason action for the first time since 2018.

The Cowboys have been favored to make the playoffs for several weeks after getting off to a hot start early in the season. The victory by Tennessee removes the last shred of doubt and officially confirms the Cowboys will play at least one match.

The Cowboys will have an opportunity to clinch the NFC East title this weekend when they face the Washington Football Team.

Currently sitting at the Number 2 seed in the NFC with an 8-1 conference record, the Cowboys have yet to be eliminated from the possibility of taking the Number 1 seed from the Green Bay Packers. The Packers became the first NFL team to secure a playoff berth last weekend.

The Cowboys have won only four playoff games in the last 10 postseason trips following their 1995 Super Bowl victory. In 2018, the Cowboys defeated the Seattle Seahawks before falling to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional round.

All three remaining games for the Cowboys this season are against NFC opponents. Following Washington’s visit, Dallas will welcome the Arizona Cardinals before traveling to face the Philadelphia Eagles for the season finale. All three teams are in the hunt for playoff positioning.

The Cowboys are undefeated against NFC East opponents, and with Washington reeling from a significant COVID-19 outbreak, the betting odds are in the Cowboys’ favor to find victory against Washington. Dallas defeated the Washington Football Team only two weeks ago at FedEx Field with a score of 27-20.

Washington was forced to place quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen on the COVID list earlier this week after positive tests. Heinicke was cleared to return on Thursday. Former Cowboys backup Garrett Gilbert was signed from the New England practice squad earlier this week if neither Heinicke nor Allen were available.

A victory by Dallas will all but ensure that Washington will miss the playoffs, making this a critical must-win game for the Football Team. Washington currently trails both Philadelphia and Dallas in the NFC East with a record of 6-7.

The Eagles sit at 7-7 and are the eighth seed on the bubble for playoff positioning. They have an identical record to the Minnesota Vikings but have a worse conference record and are now sitting on the outside looking in.

The Cowboys have dealt with significant numbers of players testing positive for COVID this season. They currently only have a small number of players out since experiencing an outbreak Week 13 ahead of the match against the New Orleans Saints.

That was the outbreak that forced head coach Mike McCarthy to miss the game. Cowboys safety Malik Hooker and reserve running back JaQuan Hardy were added to the COVID list this week, along with special teams assistant coach Matt Daniels and tackle Trysten Hill.

The NFL currently has 246 players in protocol due to the league-wide outbreak that began several weeks ago.

The Cowboys head into the match with Washington after getting several key playmakers back on defense in recent weeks in the hope of clinching the NFC East. At the least, the team no longer has to worry about missing out on postseason action this season.

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