ARLINGTON, Texas – From the gruesome ankle injury that ended their star quarterback's season to the sudden death of their conditioning coach, the Dallas Cowboys faced difficulties few NFL teams could match in this pandemic-altered year.
They still have a chance going into Week 17.
Andy Dalton threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, two to Michael Gallup, and the Cowboys stayed alive in the playoff race with a 37-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
The Cowboys (6-9) won their third consecutive game and can finish alone in first place in the NFC East thanks to Washington's 20-13 loss to Carolina, which guaranteed the NFL's worst division won't have a team with a winning record.
Dallas can overtake Washington (6-9) with a win at the New York Giants and a Washington loss to the Eagles on the final weekend of the regular season. The Giants (5-10) can get in by beating the Cowboys if Washington loses.
“If you gave up five, six weeks ago, we wouldn’t even want you on our side,” said running back Ezekiel Elliott, who returned after missing a game because of injury for the first time in his career and finished with 105 yards.
“We’re competitors. The whole team is. We weren’t out of it. Gotta win next week and need a little help from the guys we just played.”
The Eagles (4-10-1) led 14-3 in the first quarter after DeSean Jackson's 81-yard touchdown catch in his first game in two months coming off an ankle injury, and they would have controlled their playoff fate against Washington with a win.