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For the first time since 1995, the Dallas Cowboys post back-to-back 12-win seasons with victory at Tennessee, still alive for NFC East crown

After a wild Week 17 in the NFL, the table has been set for an interesting finish to the regular season. By knocking off the Tennessee Titans on the road, the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys remained alive in the battle for their second straight NFC East crown by posting their first back-to-back 12-win season since 1995.

With playoff berths and postseason seeding at stake, the final week of the NFL regular season will feature the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys (12-4) visiting the eliminated Washington Commanders (7-8-1) on Sunday, while the Houston Texans (2-13-1) visits the Indianapolis Colts (4-11) Sunday in a battle of two teams already looking to next season.

With slim chances of winning their second straight NFC East title and conference’s No. 1 seed still in play, the Cowboys need a victory over Washington along with a loss by the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) to the visiting New York Giants (9-6-1). In other key matchups, the Tennessee Titans (7-9) visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) in a winner-take-all for the AFC South title at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, and the Detroit Lions (8-8), led by Clifton native and Glen Rose graduate Dan Campbell, take on the Green Bay Packers (8-8) at 7:20 p.m. Sunday at Lambeau Field for the final NFC wildcard playoff berth.

Let’s take a look back at the victory that made an exciting season finale for the Cowboys possible.

DALLAS Cowboys 27, at TENNESSEE Titans 13

Posting their sixth win in the last seven games with Dak Prestcott at the helm, the Dallas Cowboys took care of business in the first of a two-game road swing to wrap up the regular season by defeating the Tennessee Titans, 27-13, last Thursday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Despite tossing two interceptions, Prescott completed 29 of 41 passes for 282 yards, connecting with tight end Dalton Schultz on two scoring strikes to get past the banged-up and resting Titans. With at least the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs locked up, the Cowboys (12-4) hope to become the first team since 2004 to claim back-to-back division titles.

With a rushing touchdown in his ninth straight game, Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliott became just the fifth player since 2000 to accomplish that feat, joining Shaun Alexander (2005), Priest Holmes (11 in 2002), Jonathan Taylor in 2021 and LaDainian Tomlinson (18 between 2004-05).

Although the outcome of the game would be meaningless for Tennessee, the Titans (7-9) lost their sixth straight game going into this week’s regular-season finale at Jacksonville to decide the AFC South title.

Taking advantage of the injury-depleted Titans defense, Prescott hooked up with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb 11 times for 100 yards as the second-year receiver became only the third Cowboys player with 100 catches in a season, joining Michael Irvin (111 in 1995) and Jason Witten (110 in 2012).

Watch the NFL highlights here: Week 17: DALLAS Cowboys at TENNESSEE Titans

JACKSONVILLE Jaguars 31, at HOUSTON Texans 3

After snapping a nine-game losing streak with a win over Tennessee the previous week, the Houston Texans looked like the team about to lay claim to the first pick in the 2023 NFL draft as the surging Jacksonville Jaguars won their fourth straight in dominating fashion, 31-3, Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The loss leaves the Texans (2-13-1) without a home win for the first time in franchise history, while Jacksonville (8-8) snapped a nine-game skid against Houston. The Jaguars took over first place in the AFC South and would win the division for the first time since 2017 with a victory at home over slumping Tennessee this Sunday in the regular-season finale.

Jacksonville’s Travis Etienne ran for 108 yards and a touchdown before halftime, and Tyson Campbell returned a fumble for a score. Houston quarterback Davis Mills threw for 202 yards, but couldn’t get the Texans in the end zone and fumbled the ball Campbell returned for the touchdown.

Watch the NFL highlights here: Week 17: JACKSONVILLE Jaguars at HOUSTON Texans

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