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The NFC Playoff Possibilities: For Cowboys, It’s ‘Win And You’re In’

1268572 Mike Fisher
 Mike Fisher is an award-winning newspaper journalist, the author of...
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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) - Like all NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys adhere to the “24-Hour Rule.’’ Following a game, the team is allowed 24 hours to celebrate a win or 24 hours to mourn a loss. Then, emotionally and psychologically, it must move on.

For the Cowboys, the “24-Hour Rule’’ this week could not be easier to deal with. Sunday’s OT loss to the Saints was rendered meaningless by the Giants’ ensuing loss to the Ravens. There is no reason to mourn. Coach Jason Garrett’s Dallas team is, for the second straight year, an owner of a berth in the “NFC East Championship Game’’ – Cowboys at Redskins, flexed to prime time Sunday on NBC, is “win and you’re in’’ for Dallas.

For others in the NFC? It’s a bit more complicated.

NFC CLINCHED:

Atlanta – NFC South and home-field advantage

Green Bay – NFC North

San Francisco – playoff spot

Seattle – playoff spot

GREEN BAY (at Minnesota)

Green Bay clinches a first-round bye with:

1) GB win OR

2) GB tie + SF loss or tie OR

3) SF loss + SEA loss or tie

SAN FRANCISCO (vs. Arizona)

San Francisco clinches NFC West division with:

1) SF win or tie OR

2) SEA loss or tie

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SF win + GB loss or tie OR

2) SF tie + GB loss

SEATTLE (vs. St. Louis)

Seattle clinches NFC West division with:

1) SEA win + SF loss

Seattle clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SEA win + SF loss + GB loss

WASHINGTON (vs. Dallas)

Washington clinches NFC East division with:

1) WAS win or tie

Washington clinches a playoff spot with:

CHI loss + MIN loss

DALLAS COWBOYS (at Washington)

Dallas clinches NFC East division with:

1) DAL win

NEW YORK GIANTS (vs. Philadelphia)

New York clinches a playoff spot with:

1) NYG win + DAL loss or tie + CHI loss + MIN loss

MINNESOTA (vs. Green Bay)

Minnesota clinches a playoff spot with:

1) MIN win OR

2) MIN tie + CHI loss or tie OR

3) DAL loss or tie + NYG loss or tie + CHI loss

CHICAGO (at Detroit)

Chicago clinches a playoff spot with:

1) CHI win + MIN loss or tie OR

2) CHI tie + MIN loss