Long Weekend Helped, But Big Stretch Ahead

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FRISCO, Texas – For the first time in three weeks, Monday was actually a Monday for the Cowboys.

After winning three games in 11 days – Nov. 18 at Atlanta, then consecutive Thursdays against Washington and New Orleans – the players got a deserved long weekend off. They reconvened Monday to visit children's hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but don't get back to practice until Wednesday, their normal prep schedule for a Sunday game.

The NFC East race will continue this Sunday at AT&T Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be on a short week after facing the Washington Redskins tonight to wrap up Week 13.

The Cowboys (7-5) kept a slight lead in the East by beating the Saints last Thursday. The rest helps, but the players know they've got to be ready for another division battle -- the start of a crucial final four games in the regular season.

"It's late in the season, but fortunately I feel pretty good and I hope most of our guys do as well," defensive tackle and captain Tyrone Crawford said. "It's obviously an NFL professional football career, so everybody should've been taking care of their body these last couple of days and making sure they can jump back on the field feeling pretty fresh, almost like you've got a bye week. Hopefully that's how everybody's feeling and we can just get rolling.

"We've got to prepare our best, obviously try and know the opponent as well as we can, and go in there fighting. I feel like this team has done a really good job with our fight, and as long as we keep that going we should go into these next games with some high tempo."