this same three-game-in-11-day stretch last year, playing Philadelphia on Monday night, at Baltimore on Sunday and then the Bears on Thanksgiving. They lost two of the three.
But again, this is a new team. There are 22 new guys on the team, and chances are only a couple might have played a Thanksgiving Day game during their careers. For sure, 12 haven't. That's how many rookie and first-year players the Cowboys have on their 53-man roster.
Now a guy like Marco Rivera has, playing Detroit twice on Thanksgiving Days while with Green Bay.
"It is, it is tough, mentally tough," Rivera said.
Now the 12-year veteran Aaron Glenn never has. But the 33-year-old, who knows his body is about to take a beating, relishes the change in routine.
"Not just that, but we'll be playing against some elite team," Glenn said. "Definitely, we'll be playing against good offenses.
"But you got to want the challenge."
That has to be music to Bill's ears. Not only does he want his team to relish the challenge, but he's just trying to get them ready for what's coming. Not only physically prepared, and he didn't practice the club in pads last week, but did run it hard, he said, but just also for the mental task.
There will be no big breaks. The Cowboys will have to go from preparing for the Eagles and playing, to immediately preparing for Detroit, and then doing the same, but with less time for Denver. Hey, it's it not as if some cupcake is coming in for one of these games.
Plus, the stretch will have a big say in what happens to the Cowboys this season. Because if you dare, look at the final five games of the season: At the Giants, home against Kansas City, at Washington, at Carolina and home against St. Louis. Still no cupcakes.
If given the choice, the Cowboys just might take a 3-2 record in those five games. That means, coupled with the 5-3 start, they'd be 8-5. So, to finish with the 10 wins they'll probably need to either contend for the NFC East title or one of the two wild-card spots, they would need to go at least 2-1 through the stretch. Anything less, and they would need to win four of their final five games to reach the 10-victory mark.
So as you can see, not only is it important to be prepared for these three games, to understand what it's going to take to mentally push through these three games in 11 days, but being successful during these games will be vitally important to the Cowboys' postseason aspirations.
Ah, The Stretch.
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