IRVING, Texas -- Once again, the success of the Dallas Cowboys' season comes down to the final three games. Win them all, and they will make the playoffs. Lose one and they would need the Philadelphia Eagles to also lose.
Now the Cowboys face the same burden in 2013.
"I don't think you fight it," quarterback Tony Romo said. "I think you embrace it. I think you enjoy it. I think the fact it's a great challenge, the fact the NFL is an incredible challenge, it takes a lot of people doing their job at a high level to be the one team standing at the end of the year. I think we need to just be better all the way around. You want to embrace that. If you're a competitor, you'll enjoy the great challenges that come along with that in sports and life. It's something you can look at a bunch of different ways. I think that's a great thing when you're faced with some tough things and have to overcome."
More than any other Cowboy, Romo gets saddled with the team's 12-18 regular-season record in December and January. That's the life a quarterback leads. But he has 34 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in his last 16 regular-season December and January games.
Not too long ago Romo said, "You are either good enough or you're not," when talking about ever winning a Super Bowl.
At 7-6 and reeling from a 45-28 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday, the Cowboys look more like a team that is not good enough, especially defensively.
A win Sunday against the Green Bay Packers can completely change the current outlook.
"You have to have the mindset that you're going to figure out a way and you're going to do what the team needs to win," Romo said. "I think if you just keep going by the past, it can help you, but it's a different football team, it's a different time. We need to go out and do it. We need to go out and win and we need to play better than we did on Monday."
Despite three touchdown passes against the Bears, Romo needs to play better. He completed 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards before the starters were pulled in the fourth quarter. It was the third game this season Romo has had fewer than 200 yards passing in a game this season. He hasn't had that many sub-200-yard passing games that he started and finished in the same season since 2009.
Part of it was the success of the running game. Part of it was the lack of success on third down.
"I think you always want the ability to have a chance to help determine the outcome of football games," Romo said. "I think we all, as competitors and athletes, want that. But each game comes up a little bit different. Our job right now is to come back and be better and learn from what we didn't do as well and make sure that it doesn't happen again and find a way to overcome whatever obstacles we have to."
If the Cowboys want to succeed, put it on Romo.