How Often 5-3 Teams Make Postseason: Can The Cowboys Succeed?

How Often 5-3 Teams Make Postseason: Can The Cowboys Succeed?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

After losing to division-rival Philadelphia last Sunday, the Cowboys find themselves at 5-3, and two-and-half games behind Philadelphia (8-1) for the NFC East lead, but still very much in the hunt for the playoffs. Utilizing the Champs or Chumps website, examined how teams ultimately fared when beginning their seasons with a 5-3 record, going back to the 2018 NFL campaign. Once Texas sports betting is legal, this is the type of information that would be useful for Cowboys futures bets.

Performance Of NFL Teams Starting 5-3

Once Texas sportsbook apps become available in the Lone Star State, data, like you see below, will be a great source for anyone considering betting on the Dallas Cowboys.

Situation Teams Percentage
Making The Playoffs 17 58.6%
Win Wild Card Round6 20.7%
Win Divisional Round 2 6.9%
Win Conference Championship 2 6.9%
Win Super Bowl 1 3.4%
*Rounded to nearest whole number

Can Cowboys Make Postseason Push?

There have been 29 teams that have started 5-3 in the last five seasons. Some reasonably good news for Dallas fans is that of those 29 teams that started 5-3,  more than half – 17 teams, or 58.6% -- qualified for the playoffs. A bit less good news is that of that group, only one went on to win the Super Bowl in recent years, the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs. And that team finished 12-4 and won the AFC West in a walk.

In terms of the postseason, only six (or 20%) of the 17 teams that started 5-3 got through the Wild Card round of the playoffs; two of those 5-3 starters (6.9%) made it through the Divisional Round, and two (also 6.9%) won the Conference Championship game. That said, Dallas will need to show some improvement if they want to increase the Cowboys playoff chances as the season progresses. 

As Super Bowl winners, the 2019 Chiefs represented just 3.4% of all the teams over the last five years who started 5-3.

The problems of starting 5-3, especially if it means qualifying for the playoffs as a Wild Card, are that those teams often won’t be getting the early postseason Bye to rest their players; most likely, they’ll be playing on the road in hostile stadiums, and, at least in theory, they’re playing superior opponents.

Last season, the Cowboys started 6-2, finished 12-5, which was good for second in the NFC East, and won a Wild Card game over Tampa Bay in what was Tom Brady’s last game, before losing in the Divisional Round to San Francisco. In 2021, Dallas raced to a 6-1 start and finished 12-5 but lost in its first postseason game, also to the 49ers. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic season, Dallas never got on track and finished 6-10. In 2019, a 5-3 start ended in an 8-8 finish and no playoff berth. 

And in 2018, the ‘Boys started slow – 3-5 through the first eight games – but finished strong winning seven of their last eight games and advancing through the Wild Card round before losing to Seattle in the Divisional Round.

Stick with to track the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl odds all season. We will continue to update you on Texas sports betting news and developments as information comes through.



Bill Ordine
Senior Journalist

Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News.

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