Thieves and Cowboys are fighting for their lives in the playoffs. The Thieves are two games behind Seattle and one game behind Minnesota for the two wild card spots in the NFC, while the Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia at the top of the NFC East at 6-7. A loss to any team would seriously hurt their hopes after the season, but a defeat could be fatal for the Rams. Seattle could lock up a playoff spot with a win over bad Carolina on Sunday, and Minnesota could move two games ahead of LA with a Rams loss and a Vikings win over the Chargers. That would give the Rams room for error for the rest of the way, and they are well aware that they were headed to Week 15.
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Cowboys playoff chances
Jason Garrett is the hottest player in the NFL right now. The Cowboys’ head coach was -500 to be fired at the end of the season just a few weeks ago, and those chances have increased as Jerry Jones has continued to express his frustration with the team. Dallas have lost three consecutive games and the Cowboys have not yet won a team with a winning record this season. Their combined record of beating opponents is 19-58-1, so it’s a light underdog, according to NFL odds, at the Rams at home.
Unlike the Rams, the Cowboys have some room. If Dallas loses Sunday in Los Angeles, the Cowboys could still win the NFC East and host a playoff by winning the last two games. The Cowboys have already beaten the Eagles just this season, so a Philly win next week will give them a head-to-head tiebreaker, and the Cowboys will be a big favorite at home against a bad Washington team in the final of their season.
While the Cowboys could probably win the division at 7-9, they won’t be too big to win the Super Bowl, according to NFL odds on futures. The reason is twofold. First, Dallas is the most public team in the NFL besides New England. The lines are often shaded by one or two spots as the sports collections receive so much Dallas action.
The other reason is that Dallas has one of the most talented directories in the NFL. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper are the new trio and Michael Gallup has also emerged as a big-play receiver. Despite being 6-7, the Cowboys are the sixth best in the league at +67, and have advanced to the Boys’ metrics.
No playoff odds
Thieves won’t be able to catch Seattle for the first wild card spot, which means they have to catch Minnesota for the second wild card spot. The good news for Los Angeles in this effort is that the Rams will win the Vikings tiebreaker if they win and the Vikes drop a game. Minnesota is likely to drop at least one game with the Chargers, Packers and Bars remaining in the program, and the Vikings are a bit of a fan of the NFL lineup this week. It will probably be a brief home underdog against Green Bay in Week 16 and a moderate favorite in Minneapolis vs. Chicago in the season finale, making it difficult for the Norsemen to run the table.
It will be difficult for the Rams to win, too. LA has a virtual coinflip this week against Dallas, and the Rams will surely be an underdog next week on the road against the 49ers. San Francisco is likely to get the advantage of the home race after a win over its rivals, so the Rams will not have the luxury of playing a team without interest. They have the advantage of playing 3-9-1 Arizona in the season finale though, and the Rams will be a double favorite in this one if they have anything in the lineup.
Los Angeles has a more difficult path to the playoffs, so Super Bowl odds are +5000 compared to +4000 for Dallas. Thieves are more valuable, however, as they win out, meaning they will win a series of five playoff games (assuming Minnesota loses a game) and players will be willing to support defending NFC champions if the line has been very high given the publicity surrounding this franchise in the last two seasons.