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Dallas in Control of Ménage a Trois in NFC East

Who would have thought a month ago that the Dallas Cowboys would be in control of a crazy three-way in the NFC East?
Throughout the off-season Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked freely about how he admired how their division rival made it to the Super Bowl last season en route to taking home the Lombardi Trophy. If things continue to go Dallas’s way on the gridiron the Cowboys could be in good shape to copy the Giants post-season path to success.

After a dismal first couple of months to the season the Dallas Cowboys were nowhere near postseason talks; talks centered on Jason Garrett’s job being in danger instead. With two games left the Cowboys are in the midst of an end of season hot streak that Jerry Jones is confident the team can ride to the Super Bowl.

"You can legitimately look at how the Giants played last year, what they did at the end of the year and how they took it all the way," Dallas owner Jerry Jones said. "And that's not unrealistic to think that that can happen to you."

When the team had become known for keeping themselves and their opponents in games for much of the season the last few weeks have seen them get closer and closer to playing a solid game from beginning to end. Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Steelers may be the closest that the Cowboys have come yet and it couldn’t come at a better time.

At 8-6 and tied on top the NFC East with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins the Cowboys are actually in complete control of their playoff hopes. However, with all three teams having won and lost to each other (assuming that Dallas will beat the Redskins in Week 17) the winner will likely be decided due to one of the tiebreakers:

· New York needs to win out and for both Dallas and Washington to lose one since both teams would hold the division record tiebreaker over the Giants.

· If Dallas wins out they win and vice versa with Washington since the two play in Week 17.

· Should Philadelphia beat Washington this week and New York next week and the Cowboys lose to the Redskins in Week 17 the division will go to Washington (division record).

· If Dallas and New York finish on top at 9-7 (and Washington 8-8) the division will go to the Cowboys (like opponents; New York lost to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati).

· If Dallas and Washington finish at 9-7 (and New York at 8-8) the division will go to the Redskins (division record).

It is not going to be an easy route for Dallas; they still have to win.

New Orleans will be tough this week. Drew Brees remembered against the Buccaneers Sunday that it is better to throw to your own guys than the other team; it showed in a 41-0 win over Tampa Bay.

Keeping the team focused this week may be half the battle this week with a pivotal match-up with Washington coming the following week. It’s a problem Jason Garrett is well aware of and ready to handle.

“When you do your best work in life is when you focus on the task at hand, not get distracted by the things around you,” Garrett said. “We put ourselves in a position right now that everything we want is still in front of us. But we’re still focused on the task at hand and that is the New Orleans Saints.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 1 PM ET in Cowboys Stadium.

Corrected 12/18/12 10:01am

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