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Cowboys' Stephen Jones: Sweeping NFC East was 'first box to check'

None of the five Super Bowl winning teams for the Cowboys were able to sweep the NFC East.
Credit: AP
Jerry Jones, owner, president and GM of the Dallas Cowboys, right, and his son Stephen Jones before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

DALLAS — Sweeping an entire division is hard. To put it into perspective, none of the five Super Bowl winning teams for the Cowboys were able to sweep the NFC East.

In fact, in 1995, a Washington team that finished 6-10 swept Dallas before the Cowboys went on to capture their fifth championship in Super Bowl XXX.

Saturday night marked just the third time in club history that the Cowboys were able to sweep their division.

Even though the NFC East has been horrendous over the last few seasons with the 9-7 Philadelphia Eagles winning the division in 2019 and a 7-9 Washington squad claiming the throne in 2020 — both of whom were knocked out in the wild-card round — Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones believes going 6-0 is a key goal on the road to a world championship.

"I just think it’s outstanding anytime you can go against the NFC East, and I know people can have their criticisms of how competitive the East has been the last three or four years, but at the end of the day, these are top notch organizations with great resources," Jones told "K&C Masterpiece" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] on Monday. "To be able to sweep the division is always a good thing, much less win it. Certainly winning it is a big, big deal, and certainly fired up about that. That’s the first box to check."

The Cowboys didn't need to beat the doors off the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field, as the division was locked up and the Eagles were also guaranteed a wild-card spot, but the victory ended up helping the Cowboys. 

With the San Francisco 49ers beating the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks downing the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Dallas moved up to the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs.

With the reformatted playoffs from 2020, wherein only the No. 1 seed gets a bye week, the Cowboys have better odds to host a divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium as opposed to going on the road, which was the case in 2014 and 2018 when they got out of the wild-card round with a win at AT&T Stadium.

However, Jones knows the wild-card opposition 49ers will present a formidable challenge.

Said Jones: "They’re very physical on defense. They’re physical on offense running the football. [Jimmy] Garoppolo seems like he’s a gamer for sure. They have some weapons that can hurt you when you look at their receiving corps, especially Deebo Samuel. We loved him coming out of the draft, a [South Carolina] Gamecock who really got our attention. He’s been a great player at the NFL level and will create a lot of challenges for us.”

In 1969, when the Cowboys swept the NFL Capitol division, they lost in the NFL divisional to the Cleveland Browns, 38-14 at the Cotton Bowl. In 1998, when Dallas went 8-0 against the NFC East, the Arizona Cardinals upset them 20-7 in the NFC wild-card at Texas Stadium.

Do you think the dominance shown by the Cowboys in the NFC East will translate to the playoffs? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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