Overreactions, reality checks for Week 16 Sunday games: Cowboys one and done in playoffs? Lions No. 2 seed?

Overreactions, reality checks for Week 16 Sunday games: Cowboys one and done in playoffs? Lions No. 2 seed?

Christmas weekend in the NFL doesn’t separate the contenders from the pretenders. Regardless, the holiday season is a pretty good indicator of which teams could make noise once they get to the postseason.


The NFL regular season is coming to a close soon, as teams are looking to get

hot at the right time with the playoffs looming. The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins had a good litmus test in Week 16, same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Dolphins and Buccaneers came out victorious, while the Cowboys and Jaguars have

more questions than answers.


In the Week 16 overreactions of the Sunday afternoon games, let’s determine if the results between playoff contenders were actually overreactions or not.

Cowboys are one and done in playoffs

Overreaction or reality: Reality


The loss to the Dolphins was massive in regard to the Cowboys playing a playoff game at home, where Dallas is simply dominant. On the road? The Cowboys have a -6 point differential on the road to a +165 at home, averaging 39.9 points at home to 21.3 on the road.

The Cowboys are 0-4 against teams with winning records on the road, 3-0 at home. Dallas is arguably the best team in the NFL at home, yet may not even get to play a home playoff game.


With the Philadelphia Eagles schedule (New York Giants twice, Arizona Cardinals), Dallas may be staring down the No. 5 seed and playing a road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (winners of four straight). Is anyone convinced Dallas can beat a team with a winning record on the road right now? Even if Dallas beats Tampa Bay, the Cowboys will face the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, or Eagles on the road in the next round. Right now, beating a red-hot Buccaneers team isn’t a given.

The Cowboys will enter the playoffs 0-4 against teams currently with winning records on the road — not a good sign.


Dolphins win two playoff games

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction


The Dolphins finally beat a team that currently has a winning record in the Cowboys, putting Miami in prime position to get (at least) the No. 2 seed.

The Dolphins have a brutal finish to the schedule with the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills, so they’ll be battle-tested.


Do the Dolphins win two playoff games if they beat the Ravens next week and get the No. 1 seed? That would mean a Super Bowl appearance if that was the case. The AFC is significantly tough with the Ravens, Bills, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs around — as the Dolphins will have to likely beat two of them to get to the Super Bowl (one of them if they end up as the No. 2 seed).

Beating a team with a winning record was a major milestone for the Dolphins. Let’s hold off on Super Bowl expectations or a deep playoff run for a team that’s clearly on the rise — and a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000.


Lions will end up as No. 2 seed

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

The Lions deserve plenty of respect for winning the NFC North, their first division title since 1993. Detroit will be a threat in the playoffs, but what seed will the Lions end up come January? Right now, the Lions are the No. 2 seed in the NFC and are in position to seize that for good with a win over the Cowboys on Saturday night (even if the Eagles win their next two games, the Lions may jump them in strength of victory tiebreaker).


Basically the Lions have to win out against the Cowboys andMinnesota Vikings to seize that No. 2 seed, based on the teams the Eagles close out with (Giants twice, Cardinals). Beating Dallas at home is no easy task, but the Lions are getting a home playoff game regardless.

The Lions are going to be a tough out at Ford Field. Imagine if they can pull off getting at least two games there.


Buccaneers will win a playoff game

Overreaction or reality: Reality


The Buccaneers still have some work to do to win the NFC South, but they have taken control of that division by winning four in a row. Baker Mayfield has eight passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and 269.7 passing yards per game in his last three games — a 123.8 passer rating.


Mayfield is red hot at the moment and the defense has given up 18.8 points per game over the past four games. Tampa Bay’s schedule hasn’t been the greatest, but the Buccaneers are beating teams they’re supposed to beat — and teams they weren’t beating at the beginning of the year.

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