Cowboys Clinch 2nd Consecutive Playoff Berth with Commanders' Loss to Giants

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2022

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 04: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys are seen on the field against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are headed to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Dallas lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday but still clinched its spot in the postseason thanks to the Washington Commanders' loss to the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.

While the Cowboys are an iconic franchise and widely known as America's Team, this is the first time they've been to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since the 2006 and 2007 campaigns. But anything short of another postseason berth, given the amount of talent on the roster this year, would have been a massive disappointment.

Few teams can match the star power and name recognition of a roster that includes Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard, among others.

Dallas even added another notable name during the season when it signed T.Y. Hilton after it was connected to Odell Beckham Jr. for so long.

Yet the season appeared to be in jeopardy early on, even with all that talent, when Prescott suffered a thumb injury during a Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering he suffered a severe ankle injury in 2020 and saw the team go 4-7 without him, there was genuine reason for concern.

However, Cooper Rush did more than just keep the team afloat and went 4-1 as a starter in the two-time Pro Bowler's absence.

That cleared the way for Prescott to come back for a Week 7 game against the Detroit Lions, and the Cowboys are 6-2 ever since.

Now that Dallas has clinched its spot and looks like one of the top challengers in an NFC field that also features the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers, it will look for its first deep postseason run in more than two decades.

The last time the Cowboys made it past the second round was during the 1995 campaign when they won the Super Bowl with Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders leading the way.

If Prescott, Elliott, Pollard, Lamb and others are going to be remembered alongside some of the great Cowboys in franchise history, they will need to establish some playoff success after losing in the wild-card round last season.

They will have a chance to do just that after clinching a postseason spot.