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How Cowboys can clinch a playoff berth and the NFC East in Week 17

The Cowboys can still clinch the NFC East, but they will need help to make it to the 2021 NFL playoffs. We break down what Dallas needs in Week 17.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (14), tight end Blake Bell (80), offensive tackle Terence Steele (78) stand with Dallas Head Coach Mike McCarthy (R) as they warm up prior to the Dallas Cowboys game versus the Baltimore Ravens on December 8, 2020 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD. Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys entered 2020 with high expectations as Dak Prescott emerged with a monster 2019 season. However, Prescott suffered a nasty ankle fracture in Week 5 and it became the Andy Dalton show. The team lost six of seven games after Prescott’s injury, but has turned it around of late, winning three straight headed into Week 17.

The Cowboys still has a reasonable shot of winning the NFC East. If the Cowboys beat the Giants in the Meadowlands and Washington loses or ties on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas will join the field of the 2021 NFL playoffs. If Dallas ties New York and Washington loses, the Cowboys also win the division.

The Giants entered the season as the odds-on favorite to win the NFC East at -121 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Even if the division did not work out, they were -250 to clinch some kind of playoff berth. At one point after Prescott’s injury they had the third worst odds to win the division, but have slowly shortened them since.

The NFC East has been a mess this season and will have a team with a losing record representing it. If the Cowboy get in, they would be the third seven-win team in the playoffs under the 16-game format.