<
>

Do the Cowboys need to win out?

12/3/2013

The final four weeks of the NFL season is here and the Cowboys control their own fate.

They're tied for first-place in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles, but own the first tie-breaker against their rivals. Given the fluid situation in the division, especially with the New York Giants still believing they have a playoff shot, the Cowboys might have to win their remaining four games to win the division.

"I think they’re really being tested," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said after the victory against the Oakland Raiders last week. "Two teams (Oakland and New York Giants) we just played really have competed, and we’ve had some adversity. It’s just the kind of thing that you know, to have a good team, you’re going to have to go out and overcome (some things). And we’ve had two good chances to learn how to do it with this team, and we’ve succeeded. And that’s going to pay off for us."

The Cowboys have failed to clinch a playoff berth because of losses in the regular-season finale the past two seasons.

This might be different given the next three games.

Dallas visits Chicago on Monday night football, 10 days between their last game. The Bears have problems at quarterback and there's no guarantee starter Jay Cutler will play in Soldier Field.

The Cowboys come in on a two-game win streak and are expected to get some injured players back, such as starting middle linebacker Sean Lee and quite possibly strong side linebacker Justin Durant.

A home game awaits the Cowboys the following week against the reeling Green Bay Packers -- 0-4-1 since Aaron Rodgers went down -- and there's no guarantee Rodgers participates to save their season.

The final two games are within the division against Washington, eliminated Monday night in the loss to the Giants, and the finale against the Eagles.

"I still think that it’s going to come down to beating the Eagles," Jones said. "Then again, I’m not forgetting about Washington. We’ve got these two away, two at home, formidable teams. Two of them are neck and neck. One of them will probably get Rodgers back, so those will be big games for us. Chicago on the road. Washington on the road. Believe you me, they’re going to sit here with some resolve after a game like they had the other night. So we’ve got our hands full. This will be a good test for us. If we can come through this thing and somehow get them and have some success and maybe have a chance for the playoffs, we’ll have run a good gauntlet that gets us ready if we don’t get hurt in a key spot."