FRISCO, TX — The clock is ticking down to the moment the Dallas Cowboys take the field to square off against the Philadelphia Eagles, a matchup in Week 9 that will set a very real tone for the race toward the NFC East crown in 2023, and CeeDee Lamb will be key to quarterback Dak Prescott delivering an explosive outing that mirrors what they did in Week 8.
He's been devouring defenses lately and spitting out their bones.
Lamb was visibly frustrated in the blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but he's been on a heater ever since — targeted 21 times over the past two contests and produced 275 receiving yards with two touchdowns en route to the Cowboys building a two-game win streak.
"That San Fran game is behind me now," Lamb said on Thursday. "Obviously, I let out a side of myself which is a part of me — I'm passionate about this game. To see the changes since has been amazing."
The connection between Lamb and Prescott has become a nuclear weapon that helps to power the once-stalled offense to recent success, and getting off to a fast start against the Eagles will be paramount but, as Lamb explains, so will not getting out ahead of the skis emotionally.
That's likely something that occurred against the 49ers, i.e., lack of composure, and they paid for it with the worst loss of Mike McCarthy's coaching career.
"That's the best way to start the game [but also] just being composed," said the All-Pro receiver. "They're gonna have their big plays. They're gonna have the ball a couple times and they have playmakers, just as we do. So, going into this game, it'll be a heavyweight match.
"Staying composed and staying true to ourselves [is key]. We live for these big games. I'm ready for it."
They have no choice but to be ready for this one in ways they weren't during their trip to Santa Clara, with a chance to bring the Eagles (7-1) down a peg while moving themselves closer to the top of the division and conference.
And when it comes to facing the Eagles, one thing in particular jumps out at Lamb. It's Jalen Hurts, but not for the same reason as the headlines would suggest.
"Jalen," said Lamb. "Playing with him [at Oklahoma] in 2019, and now being rivals is kind of crazy because I don't necessarily wish bad on him, but I hope he doesn't beat us. I know his game. I'm very familiar with it, and he's a winner."
The onus is on the Micah Parsons, DaRon Bland and the rest of the Cowboys' defense to make sure he's the opposite on Sunday but, for the first time all season, it feels as if Lamb and the offense can finally match serve with their intensity, efficiency and production.
"We've been getting better week by week in practice, hitting it hard and competing with each other," Lamb said. "We don't wanna put out the same feeling that we put out versus San Fran."
It's a special week in the Metroplex after the Texas Rangers earned their first-ever World Series victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks (take that, Cardinals?), and Lamb can't help but feel that surge of energy in the air — wanting to bask in it himself come February.
"I watched the game," he said of the Game 5 victory. "It was nice. I'm very happy for them and would love to experience how they're feeling. I, definitely, would love to end our season the way they did."
Handing the Eagles a loss in Week 9 would be a huge step toward potentially making that a reality.