The Dallas Cowboys will be sitting pretty this weekend during the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 NFL playoffs, when the Cowboys locked down the NFC’s #1 seed along with a first-round bye. Thus, with multiple potential matchups looming on the horizon for the current #1 seed in the NFC, critics and fans alike cannot help but to wonder which matchup would be best for the Boys and which would pose the biggest threat to such a magical season.
In an ideal scenario, the Detroit Lions travel to Jerry World. The Cowboys thrashed the Lions on Monday Night Football 42-21 less two weeks ago during a game that did not mean anything to the Cowboys in terms of home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the first-round bye. The Lions dropped their past three games, and they seem to be reeling after a heartbreaking loss to division rival Green Bay in a game they viewed as a must-win to secure the NFC North. They were lucky to still sneak into the playoffs, and, as a result, the Seattle Seahawks are currently an eight-point favorite against the Lions.
The New York Giants provide the most daunting matchup for the Cowboys. Although by only a combined four points, the Cowboys dropped both division matchups to the Giants during the regular season. The Giants defense, composed of a secondary now calling themselves the “New York Pass Defense (NYPD),” is a force to be reckoned with. The secondary is arguably one of the most sound and consistent group of defensive backs in the league, ranking second in touchdowns allowed (15) and passer rating of opposing quarterback (75.8) and fourth in interceptions (17). To put the cherry on top, the wound is still fresh from the 2007-08 NFL playoffs when the Giants, a #5 seed, came to Dallas and beat the #1 seed 21-17.
The Green Bay Packers are no walk in the park either for the Cowboys. Sure, the Packers did lose six of their first 10 games, including a 30-16 loss to the Cowboys. However—winning the last six games of the regular season—the Packers have been anything but cold. Aaron Rodgers is a proven winner—he knows how to win and when to do it. Also, with Jordy Nelson returning to his former self after a devastating knee injury took him out for the entire 2015 season and with Davante Adams having a season to remember, this Packers offense has been revitalized over the latter half of the season. Finally, no one forgets how the Packers ended the Cowboys’ playoff hopes during the 2014-15 NFC Divisional game after Dez Bryant’s catch was overturned on a go-ahead touchdown during a pivotal 4th and 2.
Fans can cross their fingers for a cupcake matchup against Detroit, but everyone knows that revenge is always sweet when faced with many years of ridicule from both Giants and Packers fans alike.
Plus, it’s the playoffs—who said it was going to be easy?
Photo: Bill Kostroun (AP Photo)