Just think about that sentence for a second: One victory, over a team with five wins in 2015, has turned a franchise entering Week 13 with just three wins into a legitimate contender to become a champion of one of the NFL’s eight divisions.
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That, ladies and gentlemen, is the NFC East in 2015.
“We’re fortunate to be in the position we are with how many losses we have,” linebacker Sean Lee said, via ESPN.
The Cowboys won a wild game on Monday night. The contest’s first touchdown came 58 minutes in, as Dallas turned DeSean Jackson’s terrible fumble on a punt return into seven points. After Washington retied the game with a quick scoring drive (to Jackson, no less), the Cowboys produced a big kickoff return to help set up Dan Bailey’s 54-yard field goal with nine seconds left.
Just like that, the Cowboys—who lost seven games in a row and starting quarterback Tony Romo for the rest of the regular season—are now 4-8 and one game back in the NFC East with four games to play. The Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are tied atop the division at 5-7.
But the Cowboys have had this feeling of revival once before in 2015, and it was a fleeting moment.
“We have to take it one game at a time,” Lee said. “Looking back at Miami, we felt we had new life. We have to find a way to continue to win. We’re lucky to be in the position we’re in. But we have to win a lot of these games to make a run if we want to get into the playoffs.”
The schedule won’t make it easy on Dallas.
After playing on Monday night, the Cowboys will have to travel to Green Bay to play the Packers, who have had the luxury of a mini-bye after playing last Thursday night. Dallas then hosts the 7-5 New York Jets and travels to the 6-6 Buffalo Bills, while finishing the season with Washington at home.
More than likely, the Cowboys will need to win three out of the last four games to win the division. But anything and everything is possible within the NFC East in 2015.
In fact, there’s a scenario where all four teams could finish at 6-10. The division champion in that setup? The Dallas Cowboys. If nothing else, it would be a fitting end to this season’s wild ride in the NFC East.