Ezekiel Elliott's delayed suspension could cause problems for the Cowboys in the playoffs

  • Ezekiel Elliott is expected to play on Sunday after yet another turn regarding the legal case around his six-game suspension.
  • The NFL has made clear that Elliott’s suspension would carry over into the postseason should the Cowboys qualify.
  • The back-and-forth nature of the case leaves the Cowboys in an odd position looking forward to a potential playoff run.

It appeared that after much back-and-forth, Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension was set to begin on Sunday.

But after a quick response from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, Elliott’s appeal will be heard next week, and granted Elliott a stay in the meantime. He is now eligible to play for the Cowboys on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

A panel of three judges are expected to rule on Elliott’s suspension next week. However, the ongoing on-again/off-again nature of Elliott’s suspension could become a problem for the Cowboys come playoff time.

As ESPN’s Todd Archer reported, the NFL has made clear that Elliott’s suspension would carry over into the postseason should the Cowboys qualify, making the timeline for a final ruling on Elliott’s case all the more pressing for Dallas.

There’s a chance that the panel of three judges will rule against Elliott next week, in which case his suspension would begin Week 10. But if the panel rules in Elliott’s favour, it’s possible that the back-and-forth of appeallate courts continue as they have been, leaving football fans confused on a week to week basis as to the state of the case.

Should the case continue to be passed down for a few more weeks, it could come back to bite the Cowboys. While losing a dynamic running back for six games is never a desirable outcome, Dallas is a well-rounded team that could fair well without him, with backs like Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris picking up the slack in Elliott’s absence. Even without Zeke, the Cowboys could likely compete for a playoff spot in the wide-open NFC.

But should the Cowboys make the postseason, the competition is tougher and the stakes are higher. Dallas would much rather lose Elliott for a midseason home game against the Chargers than have him missing for a road wild card game in New Orleans.

While its still unclear if such an outcome is even possible, with all of the legal twists and turns that Elliott’s case has taken since the announcement of his suspension, preparing for any and all contingencies appears a prudent idea.

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