Don't Get Carried Away

team's wide receivers with 54 catches, even though he missed the past two games with a badly sprained ankle, and the underrated Devery Henderson has totaled 526 receiving yards - not to mention one Terrance Copper now hauling in half-ending Hail Mary passes. 

Then there is the matter of Deuce McAllister rounding into shape this second half of the season, now a full 12 months removed from last year's reconstructive knee surgery. McAllister in his last two games has rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 45 carries, an average of 4.5 yards per carry. 

And then there is one Reggie Bush. Don't look now, but this guy is starting to figure out how you run in the NFL. He's starting to learn speed to the boundary is nice, but that to make a living in the NFL, you better start cutting the ball up field. He is, and into the end zone, too, three of his four touchdowns Sunday coming on the ground. 

Plus, it seems Payton never leaves him in the same spot twice, and has made a priority of getting the ball in his hands, evidenced by his NFC-leading 73 receptions. You think the Cowboys had problems tackling Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs on Sunday? Huh! 

Put this all together, and realize the Cowboys are playing the NFL's top-ranked offense - again. Didn't they just do that meeting Philadelphia the first time? Didn't they just play the No. 2 team, Indianapolis? Didn't they play the erstwhile No. 2 Giants back in Week 7? While you should rejoice the Cowboys lead the NFC with 332 points, 26.7 points a game, know that the Saints are one of just three NFC teams to already total 300 points. They average 25.8. 

See what I mean? 

"We got a tough road to hoe here; these next two teams give us a unique set of problems," Parcells said, making reference to New Orleans and Atlanta. "You can't look at it like, well, gee whiz, we're near the end of the line. We're not necessarily near the end of the line. We're trying to improve as we go here and be playing our best football, which I think we are right this minute. 

"But by no means do I think we'll be successful if we don't keep our nose to the grindstone. Our margin for error is not that good. I don't think we can go out there and play badly and win." 

For sure, that pertains to Sunday, even if the Cowboys are playing at home. 

So just in case anyone is getting too full of the 8-4 Cowboys, something to think about, having pointed out how the Saints are marching on offense, would be the pass rush. Pressure on opposing quarterbacks seems to be dwindling, and it did to nothing on Sunday against the Giants. 

Look at it this way: The Cowboys collected 18 of their 22 sacks in the first eight games. In the past four, and that goes back to the Arizona game when Greg Ellis tore his Achilles', they have the other four, including Sunday's goose egg performance. And it wasn't so much no sacks, they also were void of quarterback hurries. 

The Cowboys rank 25th in sacks per play. In fact, only four teams have fewer sacks than the Cowboys, and only one of those, Indy, has a winning record. 

You know, nothing to be three-alarmed about, but something to think about since one of this Brees guy's seven 300-yard passing performances this season has been of the 500-yard variety. Batten down the hatches. 

So when Parcells started getting peppered about playoffs, you know, the premature stuff about home-field advantage and positioning for byes and such, he gave everyone the Heisman, saying, "Fellas, we got a lot of football left here. We've got some problems on the horizon, so I'll let you know what's going on two weeks from today, OK?" 

OK. Sounds right. Hold the olives.                                         

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