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The Dallas Cowboys have pleasantly sat back and watched during their Week 7 bye, sitting at 5-1 and three games ahead of the competition in the NFC East before the other three played their Week 7 games.
While it’s too early to tell definitively, Dallas will win the division barring a major collapse or multiple significant injuries, which it has already battled through with wide receiver Michael Gallup and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence out, not to mention the suspension of right tackle La’el Collins.
It’s a beautiful thing to sit back and have others do the dirty work. The Cowboys enjoyed such a day Saturday when it comes to making the playoffs, with their odds improving despite not winning a game.
538's odds for the #Cowboys to make the playoffs before Week 7: 93%
After Week 7: 94%
Their odds improved despite not playing this week. You RARELY ever see that.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 24, 2021
Unluckily for the Cowboys, they didn’t get much help from the rest of the NFL with the fellow early contenders for the No. 1 NFC seed all coming out with a win in Week 7. Here’s how it all played out on Sunday.
Right in the thick of the NFC No. 1 seed race, the Packers handled the Football Team, 24-10. Washington kept pace in the first half, down just seven at halftime before Aaron Rodgers continued his solid day for a strong three-touchdown effort, stretching the lead to two scores, and never looked back.
Wideout Terry McLaurin had a big day for the Football Team with over 100 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough and the Packers sit tied at No. 2 in the NFC, taking a lead in the race over Dallas during their bye week.
Packers move to 6-1.
Washington drops to 2-5.
Carolina Panthers continue collapse in loss @ New York Giants
Remember when Dallas wasn’t seen as the clear favorite against a 3-0 Carolina team that was the talk of the NFL through three weeks? They got throttled by the Cowboys in Week 4 and haven’t been able to recover since.
Quarterback Sam Darnold got benched in Metlife Stadium on Sunday for P.J. Walker and the Panthers failed to muster more than three points, even giving up a safety along the way. The Giants get a meaningless win to inch a bit closer to the Cowboys while Carolina continues to free-fall out of the playoff race.
New York moves to 2-5, No. 13 in the NFC.
Carolina drops to 3-4, No. 10 in the NFC.
Atlanta Falcons escape Miami Dolphins on last-second FG
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
The Falcons, who were considered one of the worst teams in football, now sit at .500 and have reason to hope. Kyle Pitts followed his coming-out performance in Week 6 with a career-high 163-yard outing against the Dolphins.
Younghoe Koo made the game-winning field goal to win 30-28 in Miami. After all the praise in 2020, what happened to Brian Flores and the Dolphins?
Atlanta moves to 3-3, No. 8 in NFC.
Dolphins fall to 1-6.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominate Chicago Bears at home
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
The only negative mark on Dallas’ record is the nail-biting loss to Tampa Bay in the first game of the season. Ahead of Week 7, the Buccaneers held a tiebreaker over the Cowboys in the NFC race but they took advantage during the Dallas bye and keep their spot in the top 3 of the conference.
The Bears’ expected growing pains with a rookie quarterback continued as Justin Fields threw three interceptions in the 38-3 loss.
Tampa Bay moves to 6-1, T2 in the NFC
Chicago falls to 3-4, No. 10 in the NFC
Arizona Cardinals continue undefeated start by handling the Houston Texans
The Cardinals haven’t slowed down since the 2021 season started, starting undefeated and didn’t waste time with the Texans on Sunday, holding a double-digit lead by halftime and holding Houston to five points.
Dallas likely won’t get much help throughout the season with other teams taking down Arizona and the Week 17 matchup between the two becomes more and more important in the NFC race.
Cardinals move to 7-0, No. 1 in the NFC
Texans drop to 1-5.
Philadelphia Eagles struggle in ugly loss at Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Raiders started down seven against the Eagles after a first-drive touchdown but Las Vegas ripped off 30 unanswered points spanning from the first quarter to late in the third.
Down 30-7, Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia put together some garbage points and made it a much more respectable score in a 33-22 loss, falling way behind Dallas in the NFC East,
Eagles fall to 2-5, No. 14 in the NFC
Raiders climb to 5-2.
Traded QBs battle in Rams-Lions but Stafford comes out on top
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY SportsThe storyline coming into Week 7 was the trade between the Los Angeles Rams and the Detroit Lions, exchanging Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford.
In the first matchup since the trade, Goff and Detroit came out swinging with a 63-yard touchdown to D’Andre Swift and a successful onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Things went downhill as the game progressed, though.
Stafford got settled in and finished with three touchdowns in a 28-19 win over the Lions. Thankfully, the Rams and Cardinals are in the same division so Los Angeles doesn’t move ahead of Dallas in the standings.
Rams move to 6-1, No. 5 in the NFC
Lions stay winless at 0-7, last in the NFC.