By Dwain Price, NDG Sports
FRISCO – Despite not being able to get out of their way because they’ve lost three of the last four games, the Dallas Cowboys listened to all of the Monday morning quarterbacks and walked away with one distinct feeling.
“We still control our own destiny,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “That’s the only thing we can ask for.”
The Cowboys are 6-6 and are indeed in first place in the NFC East, mainly because the second-place Philadelphia Eagles dropped to 5-7 after they were surprisingly upset by the lowly Miami Dolphins this past Sunday, 37-31. Still, the Cowboys have been in a foul mood this week because they know they haven’t played up to their lofty standards.
“We’re just angry that we’re not where we expect ourselves to be and just angry that things haven’t been going the way that we want them to go,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “We just got to channel that the right way.”
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Cowboys hope to start channeling things the right way when they hit the road to play the Chicago Bears on Thursday at 7:20 p.m. The Cowboys practiced outside this week in preparation for playing in inclement weather in Chicago.
When the Cowboys played the Bears in Chicago on Dec. 9, 2013, that turned out to the coldest regular-season game the Cowboys have ever played. The temperature at kickoff was a mere eight degrees and a wind chill factor of minus nine degrees.
“It’s the coldest game I’ve played in during my career,” tight end Jason Witten said. “You know it’s pretty bad when the offensive linemen are having to use covers on the sidelines.”
On Thursday, temperatures in Chicago are slated to be in the low 40’s by the time the game kicks off. But coach Jason Garrett said: “When you do play in cold weather, just how do you keep yourself ready to go based on the conditions? It’s a very important thing, and you’ve got to be ready.”
Also, Chicago is nicknamed the Windy City for a reason. The wind often blows very strong in all different directions at all hours of the day and night, and it can play tricks with the football.
“The trajectory of the ball can move and stuff like that,” wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “You just have to focus in a little more.
“I think the worst thing is the rain, though, just to be completely candid, because it’s just hard to catch the ball.”
Meanwhile, it’s just been hard lately for the Cowboys to win a game and put some separation between themselves and the Eagles. The Cowboys are coming off a ho-hum 26-15 home loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day.
It’s the third time in the last four games that the Cowboys have allowed at least 26 points. But the Cowboys are trying to put a positive spin on everything; mainly since they know if they just handle their own business, they’ll be in the postseason tournament.
“All this does, being in this position, is add the doubters,” Prescott said. ”And that should allow the chip on the shoulders to grow.
“Get the people off the bandwagon and just know that it’s about us. The people in this locker room have to go out there and execute, and it just allows this locker room to get tight.”
Besides having a tight locker room, the Cowboys know they simply need to find a way to win a ballgame. The season is drawing to the close, and the players and coaches will be judged and held accountable based on what transpired over the next month and beyond. In other words, if the Cowboys qualify for the playoffs.
“We haven’t played at the level that we expect to play,” Witten said. “We haven’t played at a good enough clip.
“We’re aware of that, and we know we’ve got to improve it.”