The Cowboys have had Decembers to forget over the past 16 seasons.
Dallas is 25-41 in December games from 1997-2011, including 15-18 at home. They are 3-4 in regular-season games in January in that span.
Their only winning season in the 12th month of the year came last season when they went 3-2. Yet, even that ended in disappointment.
Dallas was 8-6 and riding a three-game winning streak as Christmas approached last year. They lost their final two games, including an elimination game in the regular-season finale against the Redskins.
It marked the second consecutive season the Cowboys started 8-6, only to lose their final two games, including a win-or-go-home game. They lost the NFC East title to the Giants in 2011.
“We didn’t play well enough in those games,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of the losses to the Giants and the Redskins to end the last two seasons. “We played pretty darn well leading up to some of those games and didn’t play well enough in those games. And you go back and look at it and say, ‘Why?’ It’s a long time ago, but I can give you the down-by-down analysis as to why that we weren’t good enough, and they were better. Typically, it has something to do with doing things that winning football teams do and not doing things that losing football teams do, and that’s usually the case every week in this league.”
The Cowboys have preached that this year isn't last year or 2011. They are excited to have their playoff fate in their hands this year... like last year and the year before. But they'll have to do something they haven't done in recent seasons if they are going to win the NFC East.
“You have to relish these moments,” Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “No matter what we did last year, or the year before or a few years ago when we beat Philly and went to the playoffs, none of that matters; that’s all history. We’ve got an opportunity to accomplish everything that we want to accomplish. Our first goal was to make the playoffs, win the NFC East and continue to go on. We got a month to put it together, and it goes back to you have the resolve and the resiliency and the want. It’s just you’ve got to figure out a way.”
-- Charean Williams