FRISCO, Texas - So it appears Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are not the biggest proponents of cheese. No, not actual cheese. But rather the proverbial cheese that head coach Mike McCarthy spoke about early in the week and not eating it when facing the 1-10-1 Houston Texans.
Fortunately, Prescott already knows that kind of cheese isn't for him. "If you've been here long enough you know that cheese doesn't taste good," he said. "Coach [McCarthy] always gives that message about eating the cheese. And as he says it's for the young guys and the guys that haven't been around.
"It's important for us older guys to make sure the younger guys understand that."
For the Cowboys, a team that has caught fire since late October and won five of their last six games during a stretch that included back-to-back road games against the Packers and Vikings, are now in the midst of facing a run of AFC South squads that are struggling mightily.
After thwarting the Colts last week on Sunday night in a showcase of their embarrassment of riches on both sides of the ball, the Cowboys are now tasked with a Texans team that simply has not had much of anything go right for them this season.
And like a piece of moldy cheese sitting on a blacktop after smoldering in the sun for days, the Cowboys do not want to eat that cheese and let their focus slip despite a looming Christmas Eve showdown against the Eagles wading in the distance.
"We have to show up each and every day," Prescott said. "We have to get better each and every week. And each opportunity that we go out there is not easy. So if we're not focused on those guys [and] giving [the Texans] their respect, as I said before, you'll be very upset the next day."
In all fairness, it's a story as old as time. A team rolling like the Cowboys could very easily dismiss their in-state partner and the Jaguars the following week with a colossal divisional game in their sights.
But the Cowboys nor Prescott are fooled by their recent hot streak of averaging 38.8 points per game since his return in Week 7. CeeDee Lamb's emergence has helped, as has Tony Pollard's breakout campaign. But Michael Gallup has only just recently begun to show his old form after returning from ACL surgery.
Ezekiel Elliott has been great in sharing the backfield with Pollard, but he missed two games with a knee sprain. Free agent wide receiver addition James Washington has yet to play this season, and neither has All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.
"I'd definitely say it's been building," Prescott said of the offense's late-season surge. "Obviously for one, some guys weren't playing, myself [included] early on. And guys did an amazing job obviously to win games and to build on the foundation of what we have."
The point being - the Cowboys have not been at full strength yet. And they know it, therefore they also know the luxury of overlooking teams is not afforded to them even if internal reinforcements are knocking on the door.
"We're just taking it one week at a time," Lamb said. "Just keeping our foot on the gas. It's never really on the opponent, it's always on us in the display that we want to put out."
As opposed to eating the cheese, the Cowboys are looking to take a cheesegrater to the block instead. This isn't a nice piece of gouda or brie, but rather a helping of expired cottage cheese. And nobody likes that.
"It's important just to continue to sharpen what we've gotten going," Prescott said. "Elevate ourselves and just keep building. And knowing what's ahead of us when we take care of that."