The Cowboys have a lot of work to do to ensure that the end of this season works out as well as the stretch run of 2009, but keep in mind this is precisely the spot the team was in two years ago, the last time they won the NFC East.
That year, the team dropped its first two games of December, against the Giants and Chargers, falling into a tie with Philadelphia for first place in the division, both teams eyeing their Week 17 matchup with a home playoff game likely at stake.
Just when things were beginning to spiral out of control on the '09 team, with talk of a December swoon once again, they went on the road and shocked the undefeated Saints. This week's test is not so intimidating, at Tampa Bay, but the Cowboys need a win just as badly. To keep up with New York, they had better win at home against Philadelphia next week as well.
That year, with Wild Card competitors falling by the wayside, the Cowboys wrapped up a playoff spot after Week 16. The same may or may not happen this year, but the Cowboys would have to win their next two games.
Even more likely, if the team does its job in between, the Cowboys will have a spot, and maybe an NFC East title, on the line in Week 17 against the Giants, as was the case against the Eagles at the end of both 2009 and 2008.
If that's the case, the Cowboys will have to hope this really is a repeat of the '09 season, because 2008 ended with the 44-6 loss at Philadelphia.