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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott says forget playoff position, Dallas just focused on winning

The latest news on the Dallas Cowboys.

Syndication: Florida Times-Union Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

Dak Not Focused on Scenarios: “We Need To Win” -, Layten Praytor

The Cowboys players are just concentrating on the field and nothing else.

The Cowboys would need an Eagles’ loss to the Giants to help make the latter goal attainable, but nonetheless remain focused on what is only in their control - beating the Commanders.

“We’ve got to win,” Prescott said. “The focus first and foremost is to win, play well, and build momentum. And if we win the division title that’s not necessarily up to us at this point. We’ve just got to go in and take care of our business.”

But whatever you do, don’t ask CeeDee Lamb about the multiple playoff scenarios the Cowboys are facing this weekend. He doesn’t pay attention to them… Mostly because of the stress they cause.

“Them damn things stress me out,” Lamb said with a laugh when asked if had been keeping up with the scenarios. “I’m going to be honest I don’t pay too much attention to the scenarios because if it was meant for us, it’d be for us.”

Commanders to Give Rookie QB Sam Howell His NFL Debut Sunday Against the Cowboys - NBCDFW, Stephen Whyno

Quite the test for Sam Howell, hopefully not so much for the Cowboys.

Sam Howell is expected to start at quarterback for the Washington Commanders in their season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, with the rookie set to make his NFL debut.

Coach Ron Rivera confirmed Wednesday he opted to go with Howell after initially considering giving Taylor Heinicke the nod and changing his mind after talking to players and members of his staff. Washington was eliminated from playoff contention after Carson Wentz threw three interceptions in a loss to Cleveland and Green Bay beat Minnesota last week.

Going back to Wentz was not something Rivera considered, he said, adding that Heinicke will be Howell’s primary backup. Howell is starting so he can get his first taste of football in the pros.

“It really came down to finding out about the young man,” Rivera said.

Arguments for and against Cowboys resting Micah Parsons, Tony Pollard vs. Commanders - The Dallas Morning News, Tim Cowlishaw

To rest for health or play to chase playoff seeding.

The Cowboys know they can still win the East, but they also know the Giants, who would have to beat Philadelphia in order to make that happen, will likely be resting key players with their own playoff spot locked away. So the likelihood remains that Dallas will open the playoffs next weekend at Tampa Bay, which leads one to revisit the topic of resting players.

Parsons is someone you would hope to get about five or 10 snaps Sunday and head to the bench. Again, this is difficult because when the game begins, those chances of winning the East and playing home games are very real and not to be tossed aside. But Parsons has been a diminished player in the latter part of the season. He has one sack in his last five games after registering 12 through the first 11. He is credited with just six tackles in the last three games, below half of his normal average.

If the Cowboys are going to do anything of note in this rare instant return to the playoffs (no coach since Chan Gailey has made back-to-back trips), lots of things must happen. But, for me, Parsons and Pollard will be the difference-makers. Parsons can re-establish the tone this defense set in the first half of the season, carrying the team along particularly when Dak Prescott was out and the offense was laboring to produce 23 points a game.

But Pollard‘s presence has to be enormous, too. He’s 12 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season in college or the pros. He’s going to be the first player not named Ezekiel Elliott to lead the Cowboys in rushing since Darren McFadden churned out 1,089 yards in 2015. After taking a week off with a thigh injury, he’s probably fresh but the Cowboys can’t overdo him with a playoff game coming as early as next Saturday.

Cowboys desperately need second receiving option to step up - Cowboys Wire, Reid Hanson

Impressive as Ceedee Lamb may be, Dallas needs another receiver to make some wow plays of their own.

When the Dallas Cowboys bid adieu to Amari Cooper last March, they did so without a clear replacement in mind. They hoped their No. 2 man, CeeDee Lamb, would elevate up to the top role, but they were still down a legitimate starting option.

Factoring in the loss of Cedrick Wilson and the recovery timeline of Michael Gallup, the Cowboys had to start the 2022 season without three of their top four receivers from the season prior. Their main replacement pieces, Jalen Tolbert and James Washington, would be asked to pick up the slack.

A task both failed to do.

With only one game left to play this season, Tolbert and Washington have combined for 12 yards on two receptions. They’ve been so ineffective on offense, Tolbert has only logged 89 total snaps on offense and Washington has been released altogether.

Positive news of Damar Hamlin’s recovery starts to lift dark cloud over Cowboys, NFL - The Dallas Morning News, David Moore

Damar Hamlin’s recovery continues to raise spirits across the league.

Word came before the Cowboys took the practice field Thursday that Buffalo’s Damar Hamlin was dramatically better, that he was able to grab the hands of loved ones and was “neurologically intact.’’

The cloud that has hung over every team in the NFL since that frightening episode Monday night began to lift as the league prepares for the final week of the regular season.

Positive news, but the episode is fresh on everyone’s mind and it’s tough to move on completely. CeeDee Lamb’s grandmother called him the moment Hamlin collapsed on the field and has been calling him every day since.

Conversations at The Star continue.

“Everybody’s very engaged with it,’’ said head coach Mike McCarthy, who spoke of how uplifted everyone in the quarterback room got when the first positive update came over Thursday morning.

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