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Cowboys blow out Colts, wrap up NFC East title

The Dallas Cowboys jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to the NFC East title with a 42-7 blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Our takeaways:

  1. Unless the Week 17 Packers-Lions tilt ends in a tie, the Cowboys cannot get the NFC's No. 1 seed. With Seattle's 35-6 victory over Arizona on Sunday night, Dallas will have seeding to play for in the early game next week. We might not have a good read on coach Jason Garrett's plans for Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray until later in the week.
  1. Romo's fifth game out of the past six with a passer rating over 129.0 has pushed him past Aaron Rodgers for the NFL lead. Outside of a faceplant in the season finale, Romo will finish the season atop the list. While Murray has been a mainstay in the MVP discussion all year, Romo should merit consideration as well. He has come a long way from September, when the football cognoscenti questioned whether his body would ever allow him to play at a high level again.
  1. Andrew Luck was pulled from the game down 35-0 late in the third quarter. Absent a ground attack and No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton, Luck never had a shot to keep his team competitive. Having locked up the AFC South last week, the injury-depleted Colts showed little incentive on Sunday. Once Dewey McDonald dropped a wide open fake-punt pass deep in Indianapolis' territory late in the first quarter, the Colts appeared to fold up their tents for the afternoon.
  1. The Colts' offense is in trouble after leading the league in points and yards per game for much of the season. They were held under 400 total yards just once before the Week 10 bye. They've gone over 400 yards just once since. It's no coincidence that the offense has gone downhill since losing Ahmad Bradshaw for the season and watching Reggie Wayne struggle to play through a torn triceps. Limited by a flawed roster, this team's ceiling might be winning one playoff game before falling to the Patriots or Broncos.
  1. Murray was the surprising recipient of 22 carries in a game that was without suspense by the middle of the second quarter. His surgically repaired hand was cleared by doctors, but this was an opportunity to provide a respite for a running back leading the league with 373 carries and 427 touches. Murray has the rushing title sewn up with 1,745 yards in addition to 12 touchdowns.
  1. The Eagles have been eliminated from playoff contention following the Cowboys' victory. The six NFC teams in the postseason will be Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, Arizona, Seattle and the NFC South winner. Next week will determine the seeding.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 16 game and breaks down the playoff picture. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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