FRISCO, Texas — Unless you accidentally shared an apple with Snow White, you've been awake this entire time and, as such, understand what's on the line for the Dallas Cowboys when they visit the Washington Commanders in the regular season finale; and Stephon Gilmore recently spoke on the magnitude of the fight to come.
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl champion has seen more than his fair share of pressure-packed games, and another one is on the menu this coming Sunday.
"It's a big game," said Gilmore on Wednesday. "[It's the] last game of the season and a lot goes into it. We know what's at stake, and we know they've got some talented players, but we're gonna have to take care of business. I think we'll be ready."
What's at stake is the NFC East title and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, the latter guaranteeing at least one home game (two, should the Cowboys win in the wild card matchup), and that's a massive get for a team that's been struggling on the road in 2023.
Which also goes to another reason they need the win: to avoid finishing 3-6 on the road with the playoffs on the horizon in two weeks — this being their last chance to sharpen themselves away from AT&T Stadium before it becomes a series of one-game seasons.
Win this game and the path to the Super Bowl gets monumentally less challenging.
Lose and the opposite immediately becomes true.
"We control our own destiny," said Gilmore. "We can write our own book."
It was written, per Nas, circa 1996, and now what's left is the execution of the plan.
"We know that and we've got the guys to do it — we've just got to go out there and do it," said Gilmore.
The Commanders are currently 4-12 on the season and spiraling thanks to a seven-game losing streak, but there's no guarantee they're looking to mail it in, and especially when it comes to having an opportunity to play spoiler to the Cowboys' seeding hopes; and even if that means it costs Washington the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The bottom line is the Cowboys have no clue what version of the Commanders they'll face on Sunday, and that means they'll need to control what they can control: their own preparation and mindset to ensure they leave with a victory no matter which variant takes the field against them at FedEx Field — the site of a 26-6 handling of the Cowboys one year ago.
"It's a big challenge," Gilmore added. "But we'll be ready for this game, and we're looking forward to it."
As long as they stay away from any questionable apples, odds are in their favor.