It all comes down to their next home game as the Cowboys are looking to redeem themselves after last week’s devastating loss to the Eagles. For the first time this year – in the last week of the regular season – the Cowboys no longer control their playoff destiny.
Last Sunday’s 17-9 loss at Philadelphia put the Eagles (8-7) in control of the NFC East in Week 17. In order to clinch the division and make the postseason for the second straight year, the Cowboys (7-8) need a win Sunday at home against Washington (3-12) and an Eagles loss on the road against the New York Giants (4-11).
“I guess the biggest thing that you’re always trying to preach to everybody is we’re always trying to focus on controlling what we can control,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “And that’s what we try to continue to instill this week with our team. We can control how we practice this afternoon. That’s where our focus is. That’s where our attention is.”
Garrett has been under much scrutiny this season as die-hard fans are not impressed with his coaching of America’s team. And with a practice on Christmas day, fans will be wondering if it is all too little too late for their team to come back after a disappointing season.
Garrett scheduled the practice late Wednesday to accommodate the Christmas holiday but told reporters via conference call that team focus has been excellent this week despite the disappointing loss in Philadelphia, the team’s fourth in the last five games.
Had they were able to secure the win last week, they would’ve clinched the division. But the Cowboys did not score a touchdown for only the second game this season, and the depleted Eagles were able to hang on after jumping out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead.
Defensive end/captain DeMarcus Lawrence said that complete focus for 60 minutes is the key because “it could be two or three crucial plays that can hurt you.” I
“It’s all about keeping our thoughts ahead on the Washington Redskins and making sure we finish this game out strong,” Lawrence said.
“One thing you have to keep understanding is it’s about what we do today,” Garrett said. “Win, lose or draw yesterday, that one’s done, and you’ve got to get on to the next challenge. The challenge is to prepare the right way to go play our best football on Sunday.”
No doubt, as the Cowboys take to the field this Sunday, they are hoping that focus and home-field advantage will be the deciding factors to clinch a must need win.