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Eatman: This One's Bigger Than '93 Finale

Most Cowboys fans will have a hard time digesting the thought of the Cowboys going on the road to play the Giants in the regular-season finale with so much at stake – and not reflect back to the "Emmitt Smith Game" played back in the 1993 season.

Actually, the game itself was played in 1994, on Jan. 2 as the Cowboys met the Giants in a winner-take-all game for the right to win the NFC East and take home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

If you followed this team just a little bit back in the 90's, then you've heard of Emmitt's gutsy effort against the Giants when he suffered a shoulder injury but fought through it to rush for 168 yards, with 10 more catches for 61 yards. The Cowboys needed overtime, but prevailed that day for a 16-13 win to clinch the division and home field en route to a second straight Super Bowl.

And still . . . this one is bigger. Or maybe it just feels that way because that was 18 years ago and this one is right here and now. But there's something about: winning and you clinch the division and get a home playoff game next week, or losing and you go fishing.

That's a huge swing. And that wasn't the case in 1993. The loser of that game knew it was playing again next week, and playing at home. The Giants ended up beating the Vikings 17-10 in the Meadowlands before getting trounced by the 49ers 44-3 in San Francisco in the Divisional round.

And that's why this one is bigger to me. The winner of this game plays host to Detroit or Atlanta next weekend. The loser drops to an average 8-8 record and possibly even third place of the division depending on what the Eagles do against Washington.

For the Cowboys, the difference between one game is monumental. An 8-8 record is just two games better than what you did in last year's pathetic 6-10 campaign. But 9-7 and winning the division with a home playoff game, it has a chance to be deemed a successful season.

And it all boils down to one game. To me, that makes it bigger than the last time these teams squared off in the season finale with so much at stake.

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