FRISCO, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles will not have any playoff implications. That is a factual statement.
But bringing in the term "meaningful" into the conversation is when you might start to get some resistance, especially from the Cowboys' locker room.
Rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott keep hearing the term "meaningless" and from their perspective, it doesn't apply to Sunday's game.
"No game is meaningless," Prescott said. "There's quality reps against a quality opponent that's in our division that we'll play for years to come that I'll face off against. So any reps that I can get against a good team to make myself better to get some momentum going into the playoffs, I'll take it."
Momentum is a tricky thing to nail down, but Elliott doesn't buy into the notion that their matchup with the Eagles won't have some bearing on the Cowboys' run at a Super Bowl.
"You guys say 'meaningful games,'" Elliott said to the media. "Every game is meaningful. It may not matter if we win or lose, but it matters in the total grand scheme of things. We're trying to stay sharp so we can go into these playoffs like a high-octane machine. We're not looking at them as games that aren't meaningful. Every game is meaningful."
[embeddedad0]The looming conversation around the game, however, is the possibility of an injury to any key players occurring in a game that the Cowboys have no incentive to win in terms of playoff seeding. Recent injuries to star players like Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota give some merit to the argument that it's better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to playing time Prescott says if there is a game plan that involves him playing less than four quarters he has yet to be made aware of it.
"No true discussion," Prescott said. "I am just going to be ready to play the whole game and be prepared as if I am."
People have been voicing the idea for quite some time that Elliott's workload should be lightened in order to keep him fresh, but the rookie claims that even though he has played more games this season than he would in a college season, he played almost every offensive snap in a typical game at Ohio State. On the Cowboys, Elliott is often not on the field in third down situations.
"I feel good actually," Elliott said. "I was talking about this with [Running Backs] Coach [Gary] Brown earlier. In college, I was playing 80 plays a week. I only play about 40 or 50 plays max a week [in the NFL]."
Like Prescott, Elliott is taking the same mentality into the season's final game as he has brought to every week this season.
"Just go through my preparation just like any other week," Elliott said. "Treat it like any other week. I don't control who plays or how much a person plays. All I can do is control how prepared I am for a game."
Prescott knows that it's fair that some fans might be concerned with potential injuries, but treating any game like it's "meaningless" would betray the attitude that has gotten him this far.
"I understand that," Prescott said of the mindset to rest players. "But the competitor in me wants to play."