The Dallas Cowboys didn't play on Thursday night, however a result nonetheless went in their favor in the NFL. The New York Giants suffered a defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, a result that improved Dallas' outlook in the playoff picture. The Cowboys are now guaranteed to be the top seed in the NFC as no other team in the conference can get to 12 wins.

Will the Cowboys go into coast mode?

What that means is that the Cowboys have less pressure on them in the games going forward. Their Week 16 match-up is against the Detroit Lions, a game that Detroit desperately need to win. Dallas, on the other hand, can rest any players that they feel need some time off at this point in the season.

That's the luxury afforded to a team that is already guaranteed the advantages of the conference's top seed.

The Cowboys will avoid Wild Card weekend and in the conference semifinals, they will face the lowest-seeded team left alive in the NFC playoffs. That means that they can face no one better than the 4th seed in that round and Dallas will host the contest. The Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are promising prospects to be travelling to Dallas in the conference semifinals round. Both of those teams, thus far, have strong road records at 5-2 so perhaps there is a lurking test for the Cowboys. Should Dallas make the conference finals, then they would host that game as well.

Seattle Seahawks playoff bound

The only other team to be guaranteed a playoff spot in the NFC at this point is Seattle. The Seahawks are 9-4-1 and cannot be caught for the NFC West crown thanks in part to a poor season out of the Arizona Cardinals. But Seattle still have to jockey for playoff seeding and even avoiding Wild Card weekend.

As such, the big edge in the AFC belongs to Dallas, a team that can coast if they choose to. It may even be that Detroit, who face Dallas on Monday night, received a stroke of luck with the New York loss: with Dallas clinching, managing the Cowboys effectively may now require resting players instead of using them fully.

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