FRISCO, Texas – Strictly speaking, the Cowboys can see the postseason starting to take shape in front of them. Washington's loss on Sunday afternoon guaranteed them a playoff spot, and a win this weekend against New York can lock up the NFC East title.
As might be expected, though, nobody at the Cowboys' headquarters is interested in looking too far in front – preferring to keep the focus on what's front and center.
"It's nice. Everybody can take a big smile and that type of thing. But there's no celebration. I think everybody is totally focused on the New York Giants," said Cowboys executive vice president. "We obviously know they are the one team that has beaten us this year. We'll have our hands full going up to New York to play them."
It's such a fitting twist of fate that the Giants come up on the schedule at just this time. As Jones himself pointed out, the Giants are the only team this season to defeat the Cowboys. After the Cowboys' last-second drive came up short, the Giants snuck out of AT&T Stadium with a 20-19 win on the season's opening day.
Obviously, the Cowboys have not lost since. To have a chance to rectify that result – not to mention claiming a division title – isn't lost on anyone involved.
"We'll definitely go back and look at the mistakes we made in that first game," said Barry Church on Monday morning. "We're very excited about this upcoming matchup just because it's the next one and knowing we have an opportunity to advance our goals and reach our goals."
The Cowboys took the long weekend to rest and recuperate, but the process of preparation started as soon as they got back from Minnesota last week. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Friday that the coaching staff broke down the win over the Vikings before turning the attention toward the Giants.
And as useful as the tape from Week 1 might be, Garrett said it will be interesting to see how much the opposition has changed, given that the Giants have won six of their last seven games – with Sunday's 24-14 loss to Pittsburgh serving as their first setback since Oct. 9.
"We've certainly changed as a team, they've changed as a team, different guys have played, there's a lot of different factors that go into it," Garrett said.
Not surprisingly for an NFC East rivalry, the matchup is slated for primetime. Combine that with the news that the Cowboys' Week 15 game against Tampa Bay has been flexed to Sunday Night Football, and there certainly seems to be a developing playoff feel to the tail end of the season.
Going back to the Thanksgiving win against Washington, that means the Cowboys will play five-straight games on national television. That feels like quite an audition for whatever is to come in the postseason, when the eyes of the sports world will be on this team.
Much will be made of this facts, considering the Cowboys boast the NFL's best record despite starting rookies at both quarterback and running back. But you aren't likely to hear much concern about Dak Prescott, or about the moment – even as each moment for the Cowboys gets bigger and bigger.
"All of our games are seeming to go to prime time. All the games are big games," Jones said. "I just don't see how that it's going to be that big of a difference, even though we all know playoff football is different. I just think he's going to be able to handle it like everything else. He doesn't really seem to flinch. "