FRISCO, Texas – Ezekiel Elliott has never been through the rigors of an NFL December, but he speaks like a guy who understands it.
With four games remaining, the stakes get higher. All of the Cowboys' next three opponents are contenders in the NFC playoff picture, as division titles and wildcard spots come up for grabs.
Even if the Cowboys' own playoff hopes are secure, Elliott said he knows there's more work left to do.
"Right now, teams are fighting for their life – they're fighting for their lives to be in the playoffs," he said. "You're going to see that play pick up, you're going to see teams when they're at their best."
The Giants are coming off a loss to Pittsburgh, but that they've been one of the hotter teams in the NFL, racking up six wins in their last seven games. Couple that with the fact that a Giants win can prevent the Cowboys from clinching the NFC East, and it figures to be a steep challenge.
"It's another division game, which are always important, and it's a Sunday night game," Elliott said. "It should be fun and be a great atmosphere to go out there and compete."
Obviously, the Giants have given the Cowboys the best competition of anyone in the league – they're the only team to defeat them in 12 games this season. There will be a lot of discussion about how the Cowboys have improved over that stretch.
For a rookie, Elliott approached that topic with the savvy worthy of a decorated veteran.
"Honestly, at this point, they've seen everything you can do," he said. "The games are going to get better and better, so it's going to get tough. I just think it's about will, and at the end of the day it's going to be our will against their will."
Elliott said he sees the Cowboys as the most physical team in football, and that physicality should go a long way toward accomplishing their goals in December. To that end, the long weekend off after a Thursday game should only help prepare for the final stretch.
"It's kind of like having a second bye week, having that weekend off," he said. "But I'm ready for this last stretch – the fourth quarter of the season. It's going to be busy."