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Dallas Cowboys clinch NFC east, beating Buccaneers 27-20

December 24, 2018

After a 9-7 campaign in 2017 marred by Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension saga, the Dallas Cowboys are NFC East champions once again.

They secured their second division title in the past three seasons, knocking off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20 for their ninth victory to match last season’s total. The Cowboys have won six of their past seven games following a 3-5 start, playing mostly excellent defense and getting a season and likely job-saving jolt from the Amari Cooper trade.

After getting blanked on the road by the Indianapolis Colts, 23-0, in Week 15, Dak Prescott found the end zone with his arm and legs Sunday, when Jaylon Smith added a 69-yard scoop-and-score after Randy Gregory’s strip-sack of Jameis Winston. First-year PK Brett Maher added a booming 59-yard field goal and a 20-yard chip shot to complete the Cowboys’ scoring.

The Cowboys, who close the regular season by visiting the New York Giants, likely will be the No. 4 seed in the NFC, hosting the Seattle Seahawks wild-card weekend — though a Bears loss in San Francisco would keep the chance of getting the third seed alive. This will be the third trip in eight seasons to the playoffs for Dallas under Jason Garrett, who seemed to be on the hot seat less than two months ago.

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