Week 18 is officially upon us, and its hard to believe that the regular season is drawing to a close. The Cowboys head into the final week of the year fresh off a disappointing home defeat that pretty much solidified their playoff fate. The Cowboys following the week 17 let down now have a 94% chance of remaining at the four seed with slim chances to actually move up from there.
Those statistical probabilities, mixed with philosophical ideas of how to head into Wild Card Weekend, has create a debate throughout Cowboys Nation on just how the team should handle this final week’s game against a hated rival. The age old question is what do you value more, a team rested and healthy as possible ready to make a Super Bowl run, or do you need to see some things out of your team beforehand to feel good and the time off would not be as valuable as the rhythm or momentum you may gain by playing. There’s arguments to be made on both sides, but if you speak with head coach Mike McCarthy and team brass, it sure looks like the Cowboys are leaning towards the latter.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. The starters look poised to play, but how much?
This seems surely destined to be a feel thing, right? There is no way McCarthy and staff are going to throw out the best players to play 60 minutes of football in a game that is a tick more valuable than a preseason game at this point. Just how much action will they see is the million dollar question. Is it a series or two and get them out, or perhaps it’s a half, or maybe its just a feel thing where they believe they need to work some things out among units, and once that has been accomplished or satisfied, the starters will see their way out. Either way, how the playing time is distributed will be analyzed and surely is something to watch.