The Cowboys have just one playoff win since 1996.
The Cowboys have just one playoff win since 1996. Reuters

The Dallas Cowboys have ten games remaining in 2012, but their Week 8 matchup with the New York Giants is as big as any of them. The season isn’t even halfway over, but the Cowboys next game could be considered a “must-win.”

Through six games, Dallas is 3-3 and 1.5 games behind New York for first place in the NFC East. They got off to a quick start, defeating the defending Super Bowl champs in the season opener. Since then, however, the Cowboys haven’t looked like a potential playoff team.

Dallas has struggled against quality opponents, losing to Seattle, Chicago and Baltimore. They’ve beaten Tampa Bay and Carolina, who are a combined 3-9. Even those victories weren’t convincing. The Cowboys beat the Buccaneers and Panthers by a combined 11 points.

For the rest of the year, the Cowboys are running out of easy games on their schedule. Besides their matchup with the Browns in Week 11, Dallas will face all quality opponents, the rest of the way. Teams like the Bengals and Saints certainly aren’t unbeatable, but the Cowboys have yet to defeat teams of that caliber in 2012.

The Redskins are only 3-4, but games against Washington will be difficult, as well. All of the Redskins losses have come by one possession.

A loss on Sunday wouldn’t end their playoff chances, but it would make it extremely tough for them to come back and win the division. They’d fall 2.5 games behind New York, and possibly into last place.

After they host the Giants, the Cowboys visit the undefeated Falcons and Eagles in back-to-back weeks. If Dallas can’t pull off the victory against New York, they could be starring a 3-6 start in the face.

Tony Romo has struggled this season, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. If he can’t get back on track this week, it may not happen all season. The quarterback and the Cowboys are one-point underdogs at home.

The Cowboys have won the NFC East just twice in the last 13 seasons.