Cowboys say ‘win is a win’ as they hope NFC East title survives

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Dallas Cowboys would not apologize for their 27-13 win over the Tennessee Titans.

“A win is a win and we’re going to take that and be better than mistakes and make sure we improve,” said quarterback Dak Prescott. “But an away win, a short week, you have to take it all. And style points and all that for those who think the games are won on paper.”

On paper, the Cowboys should have won more against a Titans team that put a number of key players to rest, including a run back to Derrick Henry, and made Josh Dobbs get his NFL career debut. A win or loss would not have affected Tennessee’s place in the Southern AFC. Their season runs up to Week 18 matches against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The importance of the Cowboys’ Week 18 match against the Washington Commanders will be determined by how the Philadelphia Eagles will progress against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. If Philadelphia wins, NFC wins the East and takes the best place in the conference. If the Eagles lose, if they beat the Commanders, the Cowboys win the division and the Eagles lose to the Giants in their finals.

“Oh, I’m a Saints fan. Absolutely,” said coach Mike McCarthy.

He is also a fan of his team. The Cowboys have won eight of their last 10 games and their only loss came to the Green Bay Packers and Jaguars in overtime. For the first time since 1994-95, the Cowboys posted 12 consecutive winning seasons. On Thursday, they tackled three first-half turnovers, including two interceptions that brought Prescott’s season total to an NFL-record 14.

Coming out of an emotional 40-34 win over the Eagles at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, McCarthy knew this game would be tough and called it the hardest of the season.

“I’m in tune with the injuries and everything that’s going on,” McCarthy said. “All the little things. Yeah, it wasn’t clean. It wasn’t a clean performance. We’re aware of that. I don’t object to that at all. But I know my football team. We had a tough victory on Sunday and it took them a little longer to get their bodies back. That’s Thursday night football. Hard.” It’s a challenge. But the most important thing is we answered the bell and we succeeded.”

The Cowboys were playing their second game in a row without starting defender Leighton Vander Esch, playing more snaps with Nahshon Wright on the nickel defense while also working on another secondary combination with an interception. On offense, the Cowboys were absent from leading runner Tony Pollard, who had a thigh bruise and lost second-half center Tyler Biadasz to a high right ankle sprain.

Biadasz’s absence resulted in three moves on the offensive line, Connor McGovern moved from left guard to centre, Tyler Smith moved to left defense and Jason Peters took over left interception.

“This is a testament to how our team fought to get through this three-game stretch,” said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. “I mean, the body’s on fire, you know? And we still got over it and got the victory tonight.”

And now, although the exact date of the match has yet to be set, they have extra time to prepare for Washington.

“Rest,” Prescott said. “Of course we get the rest we need, get our bodies back under and mentally figure out what’s going to happen next. Take a few days and get away from it, but know that when we get back we have to finish this season. We’re on the right track and have a long, long run ahead of us that we know we can do.” “

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