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What does Cowboys-Titans mean for Eagles, Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Raiders in playoff picture?

The Cowboys-Titans game could impact the NFC, but not so much the AFC.

General view of LP Field during the AFC Divisional playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. Photo by Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Results update: The Cowboys beat the Titans 27-13, keeping them alive in the NFC East title race, while the Titans gear up for their Week 18 game against the Jaguars to decide the AFC South. The Eagles would have liked a Cowboys loss so they could win the NFC East without even playing, but they will need to win at least one game to wrap up the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the conference.


The Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans open Week 17 on Thursday Night Football at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The game kicks off at 8:15 p.m. ET and we know that one of these two teams is effectively punting on this game ahead of Week 18. The Cowboys opened as 8.5-point favorites on Sunday but the line has climbed to 13 on game day at DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Titans have effectively nothing to gain with a win on Thursday, but can clinch the AFC South in Week 18 with a win over the Jaguars. On the other side of things, the Cowboys are still alive in a bid for the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They need a lot of help alongside winning out, but it’s still possible.

This game could have a big impact in the NFC, but has effectively no impact on the AFC. In the NFC, if the Cowboys lose, the Eagles clinch the NFC East. Philadelphia also needs a win or tie or a Vikings loss or tie to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference. Dallas has already clinched the highest wild card berth, but a win keeps the heat on the Eagles.

In the AFC, the Titans are 7-8 and tied with the Patriots, Jets, and Steelers, a game back of the seventh-place Dolphins. The Titans can only clinch a wild card berth with a tie against the Jaguars in Week 18 along with some help. If they beat the Cowboys and lose to the Jaguars, they would lose out on a playoff bid due to conference record. They would be 5-7 in conference, which would trail the Patriots, Dolphins, and/or Jets depending on how the next two weeks shake out.

They would be in better shape than the Steelers on the conference record, but it wouldn’t matter with two teams likely ahead of both of them. Additionally, the Steelers were swept by the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins, which would drop them out of contention if they finished in a tie.