IRVING, Texas - Whether it be the extra time to prepare, the extra rest for banged up bodies or just the desperation of a team fighting for their playoff lives, Tony Romo expects a different outcome when the Cowboys face the Eagles in round two of the season.
"I'm excited to just get the opportunity to come back and play," Romo said. "I don't think our football team played as well as were capable the last time we played them. I think guys will be ready to go. Ultimately we've gotta play a lot better than we did in that game. I'm excited to see our guys step up to the challenge."
They'll need to step up in a huge way to make sure a 33-10 Thanksgiving Day massacre doesn't happen again. Maybe 10 days of preparation rather than the quickest turnaround in NFL history will do the trick. The last time Romo had such a long break between games came after the bye week and he torched the New York Giants for a season-high four touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Dez Bryant in the final minute of play.
"Having a few more days off," said Romo. "I expect me and my team to be at our best on Sunday. Our football team understands where we are at in the season and why you play this game and it's for games like these to give yourself a chance to do what you set out to do."
And that goal is to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys already got rid of that 8-8 thing that's been hanging around Valley Ranch the past three years, now they have to clean up their mistakes from Thanksgiving and take the reins of the NFC East.
"You can only control yourself and what you're doing and this football team, we're going to take care of ourselves and our approach and worry about the rest of the stuff later."
It won't all be up to Tony to help achieve a different outcome this time against the Eagles, the defense must try to avoid getting gashed by that high octane run game, starting with LeSean McCoy.
"They challenge the defense a lot of different ways," Jason Garrett said. "It starts with being ready to play because of the tempo they use, but there are some different things they do with their blocking and how they implement their plays that is unique and I think it's pretty darn good."
While McCoy had an unbelievable performance the first time around, Romo and the offense must be the efficient, clock-eating team we all saw in Chicago.
"It's hard to get to 9-4. It's hard to be in this position," Romo said. "It's hard to be able to play games and obviously we don't want to look at other teams and games, but we need to win football games and take care of what we can right now."
We shall see how Romo and the Cowboys use this extra time to prepare. They'll need all the help they can get against Philadelphia.