The road to the Super Bowl officially runs through Dallas. Following the Giants’ 24-19 loss to the Eagles on Thursday night, the Cowboys won their second division crown in three years.
After suffering their second loss of the season to the Giants in Week 14, Dallas’ path to winning the division became more complicated, as the Giants still had a narrow chance of taking the East, which would’ve dropped the Cowboys to be a No. 5 seed. However, Dallas bounced back against the Buccaneers in prime time last Sunday, moving them to 12-2 in 2016. This meant the Giants would need to win out and have Dallas to lose out if New York wanted to host a playoff game in January.
Rookie Pro Bowlers Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have helped lead the way to the Cowboys’ impressive turnaround from a disastrous 2015 campaign and both players are making their cases to be named MVP in the NFL. Prescott has done a great job protecting the football in 2016, and has thrown only four interceptions in his short career. He owns an incredible 103.2 quarterback rating.
Meanwhile, Elliott is punishing defenses on the ground, which has added a whole element to Dallas’ nearly-impossible-to-stop offense. Elliott has taken 310 carries for 1,551 yards, which is closing in on Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards in a season. Elliott picks up an average of five yards a carry and has found the end zone 14 total times this season.
With nothing to play for in terms of playoff implications, a lot of people think Dallas should rest their starters to be healthy for the postseason, which is a tactic that has backfired on many teams, including the 2007 Cowboys, in the past. Prescott needs all the experience he can gather and putting Tony Romo back on the field will only complicate Dallas’ situation under center. On the other hand, Elliott is itching to make history he will never have the chance to make again after this season concludes.
If the Cowboys finish 14-2 in 2016, they would set a franchise-record for regular season wins. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys handle their current situation. However, don’t be surprised if they treat these next two “meaningless” games the same way they have treated their previous 14.