The stakes are too high for the Dallas Cowboys in the eyes of team owner Jerry Jones to consider resting any of their stars in Week 18.
At 12-4, the Cowboys are one game behind the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East as they head into Sunday's clash with the Washington Commanders.
Not only does Dallas have a path to the division title, but it could also claim the top seed in the NFC when all is said and done.
A win over the Commanders and an Eagles loss to the New York Giants would make the Cowboys the NFC East champs. Were those two things to happen and the San Francisco 49ers fall to the Arizona Cardinals, they'd leap to first in the conference standings.
Resting your best players or at least limiting their workload in the final week is a common tactic for teams that already know of their postseason seeding. In the case of Dallas, so much remains up in the air.
Todd Archer @toddarcher
The Cowboys could be the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 5 seed based on how Week 18 shakes out. Given the paths could include Tom Brady on road or Aaron Rodgers at home in WC, what does Jerry Jones want? "I'd like to have a home game, that's at the top of my list," he said on 105.3 The Fan.
The Cowboys kick off at the same time as the Eagles and 49ers (4:25 p.m. ET) as well, so nothing will be resolved by the time they're getting things started against Washington.
Depending on how the game unfolds, head coach Mike McCarthy might at least be able to give some of his starters a quick hook.
The Commanders are riding a four-game winless streak into Week 18, and they have nothing to play for with the Green Bay Packers after having been eliminated from postseason contention. Head coach Ron Rivera hasn't ruled out giving fifth-round draft pick Sam Howell his first NFL start.
For now, Dallas is a 3.5-point road favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, and the gap could widen depending on what Rivera decides.
The Cowboys could plausibly jump out to a big lead, which would give McCarthy enough confidence to call off the dogs in the second half and look toward the playoffs.
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