FRISCO, TX — All eyes will be on the looming rematch featuring the Dallas Cowboys (9-3) and the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) , and not simply because it'll be televised in prime time, but also because of the ramifications of the outcome after the Eagles suffered a blowout loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
And now, Shaq Leonard has chosen sides, which makes it all that much more intriguing.
With that, the Cowboys can take hold of the top seat in the NFC East for the first time this season if they force a split series with the Eagles at AT&T Stadium this weekend, and the path towards possibly landing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs will become far less daunting.
Despite those things being true, head coach Mike McCarthy is keeping a level focus.
For him and the Cowboys, it's not about nothing more than sticking to the game plan that's led them to a four-game win streak and put them in position to do what could be done in Week 14.
"We wanna get to this 10th win," he said on Monday. "We understand where they are."
Having dominated the month of November with a 4-1 record, the sole loss being their first matchup with the Eagles, McCarthy is now faced with the most daunting portion of the Cowboys' schedule — battles with the Eagles, Bills (road), Dolphins (road) and the Lions all within a four-game span.
They'll know exactly who they are when they come out on the other end of it.
"I really do like the stretch that we're getting ready to be on," said McCarthy. "When you look at the teams that we're getting ready to line up against and, obviously, Philadelphia is all that matters right now — this is an excellent opportunity for us to play in playoff-type games without playoff consequences.
"I think that serves us very well because December football is something I've personally always enjoyed, and I think it's a great indication of where you are as a team and what you need to do to get into the playoffs, and to be ready for the playoffs. We're looking forward to it."
But, as McCarthy noted, it's not about looking down the street and around the corner as much as it is staring into the eyes of the enemy who's flying in from Eastern Pennsylvania with the hopes of sweeping and putting the kibosh on any hopes of stealing away the NFC East.
It's time to see who wants it more, and who really is the better team.
"It's the Cowboys [versus] the Eagles," he said. "I don't think you have to say anything more on that."