FRISCO, Texas – As if this game needed any extra juice.
At the end of the day, nothing needs to be said about a division rivalry for the lead in the NFC East – not to mention the inside track to the postseason.
“When you play a team like this, when you play a game like this that means what it means, what somebody says doesn’t add motivation,” said Dak Prescott on Thursday.
Fortunately for football fans everywhere, the Cowboys and Eagles have decided to put that theory to the test. Because as big as this game is on its own, members of both teams haven’t been shy about upping the ante.
It obviously started in Philadelphia, when Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill offered an assessment of the Cowboys that was bound to make it’s way into the Cowboys’ locker room.
"I mean, you look at Dallas' history, they always choke," Grugier-Hill told reporters. "So we'll go down there and make them choke."
That’s an interesting choice of wording, given the comments that DeMarcus Lawrence offered ahead of last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Asked about it Thursday, though, it was a different team leader in Prescott who offered the rebuttal.
“You know, Coach Garrett has a great saying, and I don’t know where he got it from – but winners worry about winning and losers worry about winners,” Prescott said. “We’re focused on ourselves in this locker room, about what we need to do in each and every phase of this game and what we need to do for this week.”
It’s ironic that Prescott invoked his head coach, because Garrett wanted nothing to do with the conversation on Thursday morning. To Prescott’s point, Garrett has placed a heavy emphasis on keeping the focus internal this week as the Cowboys work to improve their win streak to five games.
“Again, we play our best when we focus on ourselves, and who knows what filters from one person to another,” Garrett said. “But again, we’re locked in on what we need to do to go play our best.”
Of course, in the age of social media, Garrett needn’t have worried that word would circulate. Cowboys players across the locker room were aware of Grugier-Hill’s comments – and some were more willing to comment than others.
“That don’t mean nothing,” Antwaun Woods told reporters. “That’s cool to say in an air-conditioned locker room with a camera in their face, but when you got to put your hand in the dirt Sunday, it’s different.”
It’s actually the Eagles who will be hoping things are different this time around. Beating Philadelphia launched a four-game win streak for the Cowboys, but Philadelphia has rebounded nicely to win two-straight games against division foes.
While the Eagles hope to reverse the result of last month’s 27-20 loss, the Cowboys will be s
“You look and see what worked, you look and see what didn’t. And yeah, they’re going to try to find ways to take away what you did well the first time,” said Ezekiel Elliott. “But I mean, you bring new stuff to the table and you just keep working on what you’ve been doing.”
That will ultimately be what settles this game – far more than any trash talk in the week leading up to it. In the meantime, it’s a fun addition to a game that couldn’t be bigger for both teams’ fortunes. And regardless of who’s doing the talking, someone will have an answer on Sunday.
“We’re not worried about what people say out there – simple as that,” Prescott said. “We’re worried about this team in this locker room, how good we can be and it’s about moving forward and trying to do that each and every day.”