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Dak Prescott: "This Is A Confident Group"


FRISCO, Texas – There is no panic in the Dallas Cowboys' locker room.

Despite last Sunday's disappointing 28-24 loss to Minnesota – the third loss this season by less than a touchdown – the team believes everything remains in front of them with seven games to play.

"We've got all the faith and trust that we're going to get there. We're going to be accountable in doing that and handle the things we need to handle," quarterback Dak Prescott said.

If the playoffs began today, the Cowboys (5-4) would be in the tournament based on their NFC East record tiebreaker over the Eagles (5-4). They'll meet again Dec. 22 in Philadelphia in a game that could decide the division.

That's too far down the road, though. Sunday's opponent, the Detroit Lions, have been more competitive than their 3-5-1 record, having lost four games by a touchdown or less.

Momentum stalled for Dallas last Sunday. They had won consecutive division games over the Giants and Eagles before falling to the Vikings (7-3) in a primetime matchup of playoff contenders that went down the final play: an intercepted Hail Mary throw by Prescott.

That's four losses in six games after a dominant 3-0 start against three struggling teams (Giants, Redskins and Dolphins).

But confidence isn't waning on either side of the ball.

"You go back and look at it, we're playing better. We just hadn't won those games," Prescott said. "We're continuing to get better.

"You don't want to peak too early. And this is a confident group that knows we're going to peak at the right time."

The Cowboys still have the No.1-ranked offense led by Prescott, who ranks second in passing yardage (2,777), though slow starts have been an issue for the group in the first half.

Defensively, Dallas remains in the top 10 (7th in yards allowed, 6th in scoring average) but allowed a season-high 153 rushing yards to Minnesota.

"Just being consistent, just be more consistent," linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said. "Doing our job every single snap, staying in our gaps, not trying to do someone else's job. I think it just boils down to that.

"It's that simple: just doing your job, doing it to the best of your ability and just being a ball player, going and making plays. You've got to have each other's backs."

That's the mentality this week, even as the spotlight grows bright from the outside after a loss.

"It's not what we expected, but here's where you're at," tight end Jason Witten said. "I think it puts more attention on the nuances in the plan, the execution of the plan, all the details that go into allowing you to be successful when you're playing good teams like that other night.

"Having said that, our attention is on fixing those things and knowing that we have everything we want in front of us."