The Dallas Cowboys may be in first place of the NFC East after a productive weekend, but the team isn’t sleeping on the last two weeks of the season. The Cowboys’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coupled with the New York Giants’ loss to the Washington Redskins puts Dallas in possibly a resting situation in Week 17. However, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is taking nothing for granted.
“We have no reason to scoreboard-watch,” Garrett said. “What we have to do is worry about ourselves, focus on what we have to do as individual players and coaches to get our team to play its best on Saturday against [the] Philadelphia [Eagles].”
Indeed, the Cowboys need a win over the Eagles at home on Christmas Eve to ensure a chance at a division title. The weekend’s events put the Cowboys ahead of the Giants by one game in the NFC East, but it apparently was pointless, according to Garrett.
“It doesn’t matter to us,” Garret said.
He’s right, in a way. If the Cowboys lose to the Eagles, then Dallas’ final regular season game against New York is essentially the NFC East championship game. At that point, even another Giants loss to the New York Jets wouldn’t change the division standings.
Since the Giants hold the tiebreaker over the Cowboys, Dallas must have a better record than New York at season’s end. If the two teams have the same record, the Giants win the division thanks to their win at Cowboys Stadium two weeks ago.
The Cowboys have been solid in the first half of most every game this season, but not so good in the latter portion of games. The Cowboys are 1-2 in December, but that’s mostly due to late-game collapses by Rob Ryan’s secondary. As Garrett mentioned, it will take a complete effort from both the Cowboys’ players and coaches to win the division. Watching the scoreboard doesn’t help Dallas yet and may not at all this season. All the Cowboys can do is win the game ahead and that’s against the Eagles on Saturday. Like Garrett said, nothing else matters.
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