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NFL playoffs: Dallas Cowboys into 2021 postseason after Titans win

The Tennessee Titans' 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday means the Dallas Cowboys are guaranteed a place in the 2021 NFL playoffs.

Dec 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (91) celebrates after a defensive play against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Spo
Vincent CarchiettaUSA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans’ win over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday sent the Dallas Cowboys back into the NFL playoffs for the first time in three years.

The Titans won 20-17 at Nissan Stadium - a result that means the 10-4 Cowboys cannot drop below the seventh seed in the NFC, by virtue of their 8-1 conference record.

Cowboys join Packers in NFL playoffs

Mike McCarthy’s men are the second team to confirm their place in the 2021 postseason, after the Green Bay Packers. The Packers reached the playoffs and clinched the NFC North division title in Week 15, with a 31-30 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Dallas can win NFC East this weekend

Dallas will wrap up the NFC East title if they avoid defeat against the Washington Football Team in the sides’ Week 16 clash at AT&T Stadium on Sunday evening.

They’ll also be guaranteed to top the NFC East if the Philadelphia Eagles lose or tie against the New York Giants earlier in the day.

See also:

Dallas chasing first Super Bowl win in 26 years

Dallas last qualified for the NFL playoffs in the 2018 season. Under former head coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys won the NFC East and beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-22 in the wild card round, before a 30-22 divisional round defeat to the Los Angeles Rams ended their Super Bowl hopes.

Indeed, the Cowboys haven’t progressed beyond the divisional round of the NFL playoffs since 1995 - the season in which they won the most recent of their five Super Bowl championships.