Cowboys have chance to make big move in NFC East
IRVING, Texas (AP) — This time, being a .500 team gives the Dallas Cowboys a chance to make a significant move in the NFC East.
Without that imperfect win at Carolina after consecutive losses, the Cowboys (3-3) really would have been in a scramble going into a stretch of four division games over the next six weeks.
"I looked at it last night, I saw the games we have coming up and how big they are for us," linebacker Anthony Spencer said Monday. "If we can get a couple of wins here in a row, it's going to help us out more toward the end of the season."
The Cowboys play Sunday against the NFC East-leading and defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants (5-2), who have won five of six since their season-opening home loss against Dallas.
It's the only home game in a six-week span for the Cowboys, against the only division opponent they've already played this season.
While acknowledging the importance of division games, coach Jason Garrett said his focus is solely on this week's matchup against the Giants. Not the upcoming stretch when Dallas has both of its games against Philadelphia (3-3) and plays division rival Washington (3-4) at home as well.
"That's how we do things around here. We're focused on cleaning up yesterday's game in our meetings today, getting our lifts in, our run in, and pointing our attention to the Giants," Garrett said. "They're in our division, so there's no reason to look anywhere else but this game."
The Giants have never lost at Cowboys Stadium, winning three games there. The facility opened in 2009 with New York winning the first-ever regular-season game.
DeMarcus Ware knows this is a big week for Dallas, and is aware of the significance of a potential sweep of the Giants.
"When you think about NFC East games, the way that they are playing, if you're not able to get wins early against big teams, it can come back to haunt you," Ware said. "So when you have the opportunity to get big wins against NFC East teams, we have to do it."
Dallas got a sorely needed 19-14 victory Sunday despite being outgained by the Panthers and scoring only one touchdown.
Dan Bailey kicked four field goals, including a go-ahead 28-yarder with 3:25 left. The defense stopped Carolina on fourth down with just over 2 minutes left, and Bailey added another field goal before Cam Newton and the Panthers got one more chance.