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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Win And They're In

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys pass December curse to Eagles; DeMarco Murray plans to play; Jerry Jones expecting ‘wall-to-wall’ Cowboys fans Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys shedding label as December disappointment | Toronto Star
Among the main storylines to watch tomorrow, this USA Today report leads with the Cowboys and how they may be finally shedding their "December curse".

[Making the playoffs] would be validation for plenty of Cowboys, but perhaps none more so than quarterback Tony Romo, who had a career record of 13-18 in December games before this season. In the first two December games this season, he’s completed 75 per cent of his passes, thrown six touchdowns and has no interceptions in road wins at Chicago and Philadelphia.

"I think you knew going into Chicago that if you didn’t win that game, it was going to be very difficult to have any chance at getting in. We’ve been at it for two weeks, we feel like we’ve been in the playoffs the entire month of December, so we’re just going to keep that attitude and keep going," Romo said. "We just think of it as one game at a time, playing for everything each week. And we’ve done it two weeks in a row, we’ve got a third one to go do, and after that one, we’ll start over again."

"This is the toughest group I’ve been around. I’m talking about mentally tough, physically tough. And we can do better. It’s not like, ‘Ah, we made it,’" defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who played in the Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos last year, told USA Today Sports. "If anything, we’re going to play better in December, because we know how hard we worked. We didn’t make it this far to turn around, like ‘Oh, 10 games!’ No, that’s not good enough. You know what I mean? That’s not good enough. That’s our mentality. It’s never good enough until you win a championship."

Jerry Jones 'surprised' Romo not in MVP discussion | FOX Sports
Jerry and me both.

"Well, the facts are that Romo has had so much written about him, about December, what he's not, I am surprised that now he's actually having such a great year and I emphasize that word, I'm surprised that it's not a bigger headline," Jones told 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] on Friday.

Bovada.lv isn't even offering odds for Romo as a MVP candidate. Here's who they have: Aaron Rodgers (2/5), J.J. Watt (5/1), Tom Brady (5/1), Andrew Luck (15/1), Peyton Manning (15/1), DeMarco Murray (20/1), Le'Veon Bell (33/1)

Healthy Romo is Cowboys' key to overcoming home field disadvantage | Keith Whitmire, FOX Sports
Whitmire looks at the Cowboys' home record and concludes that the common thread in all four home losses is Tony Romo's health, or more specifically, the absence of it.

It's hard to win when your franchise quarterback isn't healthy. Some teams can win when their No. 1 quarterback goes down, but the Cowboys aren't built for that, presently. They are all-in on Romo.

Against the high-scoring Colts on Sunday, the Cowboys would get a big boost if running back DeMarco Murray can play with his injured hand. Murray's success this season has taken pressure off Romo and limited his risk-taking.

But make no mistake, this is still a Romo-centric team. The Cowboys' best chance to win at home on Sunday is to make sure Romo returns to his home after the game in good shape.

Seven for Sunday: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo vs. the Colts defense - USAToday
In his preview of seven Sunday games, Jim Corbett gives the edge to the Cowboys against the Colts.

Who has the edge: Romo. Murray had five fumbles with two good hands. Ball security is a big question for Murray if he plays along with how he'll hold up in pass protection since this game is on Romo. The Colts have a shutdown cornerback in Vontae Davis capable of limiting Dez Bryant. But inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson is a liability covering tight ends. The Cowboys have two dynamic pass catchers in Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar.

Nickel Package: Colts take on the Cowboys - TheIndyChannel.com
Mike Chappel takes a look at 5 topics of interest from an Indy perspective, including this take on a wobbly Colts offense:

While the Cowboys offense seems to be hitting on all cylinders, the same can’t be said for Luck and the Colts. They still rank No. 3 in the league in yards (421.4) and points (30.3), but have been misfiring too often. Turnovers are up (12 in the last four games) and third-down conversions down (29-of-81, 35.8 percent in the last six). In last Sunday’s win over the Texans, the offense was held to season lows in points (17), yards (278) and third-down conversions (2-of-12, 16.7 percent).

Fair or not, it all starts with Luck. Since the Colts’ last non-turnover game – Nov. 3 against the Giants – they’ve had 13 in the five games, and Luck has accounted for nine. He’s suffered a pick-6 in each of the last two games, and lost a fumble in the end zone at Cleveland the Browns recovered for a fumble.

Along with the ball security issues, Luck finds himself fighting his accuracy. He’s had his two least efficient games the last two weeks – 24-of-53 (45.3 percent) at Cleveland, and 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) against Houston.

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DeMarco Murray plans to play for Cowboys vs. Colts - NFL.com
Murray is expected to play against the Colts despite having hand surgery earlier this week.

NFL Media's Desmond Purnell reported Saturday the Cowboys' running back plans to be in the lineup for a crucial game against the Colts that could keep Dallas out front in the NFC East, per sources close to the Cowboys.

The Cowboys will likely protect Murray, too, despite the fact that their offense depends so heavily on his performance. Jones reiterated his belief in Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar as well. Both should factor into the game plan.

Cowboys' Jermey Parnell likely to fill in for Doug Free vs Colts | DMN
Stephen Jones said on Friday that Doug Free is "dealing with a stress fracture" in addition to a bone spur. Pernell will get his fourth start of the season in Free's place.

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Cowboys vs Colts tickets 47% above season average | Colts Authority
According to TiqIQ, the average price for Colts vs. Cowboys tickets is currently $412.60 on the secondary market, the most expensive home game of the season at AT&T Stadium and 47% above the Cowboys’ home average this season.

Let's hope these prices are being driven up by Cowboys fans eager to see the Cowboys make the playoffs, and not by Indy fans.

Jerry Jones expecting ‘wall-to-wall’ Cowboys fans Sunday at AT&T Stadium | Jon Machota - DMN
Jerry Jones is hoping that today's game will attract a similar-sized crowd to the season-high 91,379 that showed up for the Thanksgiving game.

"I think we’ll be wall-to-wall with Cowboys fans, frankly, just like it was on Thanksgiving, which was, in my mind, maybe the finest crowd, other than our opening day against the Giants years ago," Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "I think it was the finest crowd I’ve seen Thanksgiving Day. I was so disappointed that we laid that egg out there. Let’s have that same crowd. We need it.

"That’s trite to say that we need it bad. But the other thing is, I want to reward these great fans that have been with us, and the last game in the stadium for the Cowboys as far as regular season, should have a game of this quality."

Twitter mailbag: Best defensive player - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
In response to a Twitter question about who the Cowboys' best defensive player is, Archer offers four names:

If you're talking right now, like this weekend, then I think I'd probably go with Orlando Scandrick. He's had a good run here the last few weeks. Barry Church has been pretty good, too. If you're talking about the full season, then I'd go with Rolando McClain. He's been a difference-maker for this defense. He's made a ton of plays. He's banged-up now with a sore knee and is not moving as well, so that's why for "right now," I would say Scandrick. But there is another guy to consider: Tyrone Crawford. He has been extremely active and productive and found a home at the three technique. He would be a guy that should get some consideration, too.

Cowboys’ games account for most-watched on all but one network this season | Barry Horn, DMN
No real surprise here: The Cowboys had the most-watched NBC Sunday Night Football game of the season (Week 15 win in Philly), the most-watched game on Fox (Thanksgiving), the most watched game on ESPN's Monday Night Football (vs. Redskins), and the most-watched game on NFL Network (@ Chicago). They'll take a crack at being the most-watched game on CBS today.

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Cowboys can clinch playoff spot Sunday - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Dallas Cowboys can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday after the Philadelphia Eagles' upset loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday. They even have a chance to clinch homefield advantage or a first-round bye if they win their final two games.

Eagles collapse completely, fall to Redskins | Reading Eagle
Their playoff hopes remain alive only by virtue of a mathematical improbability. In reality, the Philadelphia Eagles' 2014 season came to a crashing halt Sunday night.

Eagles’ meltdown complete | The 700 Level
No need to talk about the Philadelphia Eagles’ 0.01 percent chance at making the playoffs. All that matters right now is that their season is over for all intents and purposes.

You miss DeSean Jackson now, Philadelphia Eagles? | Shutdown Corner
Ha ha ha.

DeSean Jackson torches Eagles again, calls Birds' D 'naïve' | Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
When the Eagles play single-high, that usually leaves Jackson singled up with a corner.

“I’ve been there the past couple of years and that’s how they play,” Jackson said, via CSNWashington.com. “They’re very naïve and they play how they play, so they can care less who’s out there or who’s at wide receiver.”

“They’re going to play their defense the way they play it,” Jackson said. “I’m just glad I was able to get the opportunities I got on them. ... They play how they play. They don’t care. That’s the Philadelphia Eagles defense. I’ve been there a lot of years and witnessed a lot of players, wide receivers, tight ends, get off some huge games on them. I’m just happy to be on that side and send them home with a loss.”

DeSean: 'Kick that bird [bleep] outta here!' | Comcast SportsNet Washington
DeSean Jackson didn't hide his feelings toward the Eagles after Saturday's victory.