A year ago at this time, the Dallas Cowboys were reeling from the loss of quarterback Tony Romo to a second fractured clavicle and the resignation that their season was over as losers of eight of their last nine games en route to a 4-12 finish.
But, of course, this is a different year and a different time for the high-flying and streaking Cowboys (10-1), who head into Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings riding a franchise-best 10-game winning streak with a chance to clinch a playoff berth.
If the Cowboys beat the Vikings and the Washington Redskins (6-4-1) lose or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) lose or tie, they are in the playoffs as a wild-card team.
The Cowboys are feeling good, but they are taking it one game at a time.
“We’ve got, as it turns out, quite a bit to do here, but there is every bit of reason out there that we can get it done,” owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly 105.3 The Fan radio show on Tuesday. “I’m telling you. I can’t say enough about what these guys are doing, how they’re playing.”
For the Cowboys, though, the focus will remain on going to work on a daily basis. This is a team that has bought into head coach Jason Garrett’s message of “being great today.”
They don’t look too far ahead and have mastered the mundane of doing their best each day. They know what’s at stake.
But they are not interested in what’s happening with other teams or what’s going on beyond the next game.
“As long as we just focus on what we are doing, we should be OK,” wide receiver Dez Bryant said. “We can’t look too far ahead. We have to stay in the moment. We have to stay in right now.”
Added safety Barry Church, who is expected to play for the first time in four weeks on Thursday: “Coach puts the mentality that the next game is all we are focused on. We are focused on the present.
“We know we can’t let up. It’s one game at a time. Hopefully we will get these victories.”
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