FRISCO, TX — When the Dallas Cowboys board their charter flight on Saturday afternoon to take on the Buffalo Bills roughly 24 hours later, they'll do so looking to push their record away from home to above .500, and possibly send another statement to the rest of the league only one week after the demolition of the Philadelphia Eagles.
It's an interesting dynamic that exists at the moment, because the Cowboys have been a wrecking crew at AT&T Stadium — to the tune of a 7-0 record this season (with a massively lopsided point differential) and 15 consecutive wins stretching back to last year.
But, on the road, they're 3-3 and having far less success offensively. There's the obvious factor of home field advantage being exactly that, an advantage, but is there more to it?
"I feel like we've gotta bring our own music," said All-Pro wide receiver CeeDee Lamb on Thursday. "We're gonna be in a hostile environment, so we're not gonna get as much praise for making big plays, so we've gotta make that the new norm. We've gotta stick to our script, continue to play, make routine plays and score touchdowns."
It's a view echoed by Pro Bowl running back Tony Pollard who, along with Rico Dowdle, have truly come on strong as of late.
"We've just gotta keep doing what we've been doing [in home games] — lock in," Pollard said. "We need to keep taking the preparation seriously and going out there, and executing. That's pretty much it."
Heading into their Week 15 matchup against the Bills, the Cowboys' offense leads the NFL in most major categories and quarterback Dak Prescott is the favorite to land NFL MVP honors this season. Defeating the Bills and Josh Allen in Buffalo would be yet another huge stride not only in that race but, more importantly, in the one for the NFC East throne and for the top seat in the NFC come January — something that would guarantee them home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
And, as previously noted, they're inhuman when playing in Arlington.
But to earn that honor, they'll have to turn things up on the road, first against the Bills and then, one week later, against the high-powered Miami Dolphins.
"Right now, it's about taking the momentum that we've created from these last few games that have been at home, and understanding that we've created a standard and expectations for ourselves — on offense, defense, special teams and really as a whole in playing complementary football," said Prescott. "We have to feed off of success and be there for when, maybe, one side isn't doing what they expect to do.
"I want to take this momentum [and make] sure our communication is at an all-time high on offense, going into a hectic environment and great atmosphere with great fans, I hear."
Prescott and the Cowboys can clinch a playoff spot with a victory on Sunday in Buffalo, and grabbing that win will require dominance in all three phases of the game at Orchard Park.
As McCarthy said ahead of this December gauntlet, this is playoff football without the consequences, and that makes it a perfect opportunity to sharpen the sword toward Carpe Diem.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge but, right now, it's not about home or away," Prescott added. "These are playoff-type games and it's important for us to use this momentum and confidence we've built to take another step on the road."