There are multiple scenarios, but only way for Cowboys to have playoff shot is do one thing: Win

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First of all, the early Christmas Eve service is out. How can any self-respecting Cowboys fan hang around until the end of Sunday afternoon's late game and still have time to dress the kids, load them in the car and make it to church on time?
It can't be done. Get ready to sing "Silent Night" a few minutes before midnight.
That's the bow on a hectic 24 hours. Before that you have to convince yourself why Cincinnati can beat Detroit; run to the store because you ran out of tape to wrap presents; curse the name of Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn for what he did to the Cowboys in Week 10 -- bah, humbug -- and invest yourself in the quarterback duel between Carolina's Cam Newton and Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston.
So many playoff scenarios, so little time for the Cowboys here in Week 16.
In an attempt to temporarily cut through the clutter, here's what at stake for the Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
The winner goes into the final week of the regular season with a still flickering chance to make the playoffs.
The loser is eliminated.
"That's exactly the way we look at it," tight end Jason Witten said. "I mean, I feel like we've been in the playoffs for quite some time. You've just got to keep winning.
"Each week it's a new challenge. Certainly this week they're in the hunt as well. Over the years, the last seven or eight years, since Pete [Carroll] has been there. They're a tough opponent. We have a lot of respect for them.
"This is what mid-December is all about, fighting for an opportunity to get into the playoffs."
Not always. The Cowboys secured a playoff invitation in early December last season. Does that make you feel better?
Didn't think it would.
Most will point to the team's three-game losing streak to start Ezekiel Elliott's suspension -- he returns to the field Sunday -- for putting the Cowboys in their current bind. It's impossible to argue.
But if the Cowboys fall short of the playoffs for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, it won't be because they failed to win at least once during that stretch. Dallas lost those three games by a total of 70 points. The closest loss was by 20 points to the Falcons, the game where Clayborn had six sacks.
He has 9 1/2 for the season.
Face it. The Cowboys had no shot to beat Atlanta, Philadelphia (37-9) or the Los Angeles Chargers (28-6).
If the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs, their inability to earn at least a split in early October against the LA Rams and Green Bay, home games in which they scored 30 and 31 points, can be pinpointed as the reason.
Unless the team loses to Seattle. That would make the moment official.
The Cowboys and Seahawks kick off at 3:25 Sunday afternoon. Three noon games impact the Cowboys fortunes.
Here's a quick primer. All are based on Dallas running the table to finish with a five-game winning streak and 10-6 record.
Detroit at Cincinnati: The Lions drop out if they lose one of their final two games. Detroit ends the season at home against Green Bay.
Atlanta at New Orleans: The Falcons beat the Saints earlier this month. Atlanta is only one game ahead of the Cowboys in the standings, but its 27-7 win over the Cowboys on Nov. 12 is the decisive tiebreaker.

The Falcons must lose to the Saints and Carolina in Week 17 for the Cowboys to pass them.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: Let's not pick this off one by one. For the Cowboys to sneak into the postseason, the Panthers, Saints or Falcons must lose their final two games.

"All we can do is control this game against Seattle."
All of which brings Cowboys fans back to the best way to cast Sunday's game.
Win and Dallas has a shot, no matter how slim, to make the playoffs.
Lose and they are eliminated.
"None of those scenarios mean anything if we don't win," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "We can talk about them all we want, but the most important thing for us to do is win this game and then we'll worry about, like I said, cross our fingers and hope on those other scenarios.

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There are multiple scenarios, but only way for Cowboys to have playoff shot is do one thing: Win There are multiple scenarios, but only way for Cowboys to have playoff shot is do one thing: Win Reviewed by Unknown on 11:46:00 AM Rating: 5

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