Peaking at the right time?

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett can focus on the games rather than getting caught up in a weekly worry about the team's playoff chances because the goals were laid out before the season in a 15-minute meeting.

It's all about living in moment for the Cowboys (5-4), who are one game out of first place in the NFC East heading into Sunday's game against the Redskins.

"(We) outline what our big-picture objectives are," Garrett said. "I think everyone in this league has the same goal — to be the Super Bowl champion. You have to lay that out there right from the start, and then we quickly get into how we are going to do that, and the way we do it is we focus on each and every day, each and every practice, each and every meeting and trying to do our best in everything we try to do, individually and collectively."

The Cowboys are peaking at the right time, winners of two straight by a combined score of 67-20.

And they have a chance to get on a roll with the next three games coming against teams with a combined record of 8-19.

"I think we are playing better," Garrett said. "We don't really talk too much about getting on rolls. We talk about trying to be great each and every day, and take full advantage of the opportunities we have.

"It's hard in this league; it's hard every time you snap the football. You are going to be challenged by the guy across from you — as a player, as a coach, as a football team. We live in that world more than any other kind of world. We are going to process this game, again build on the good things that went on, correct some of the bad things and get ready for Washington."

* Garrett doesn't want to talk about it the big picture for a Cowboys team that is playing its best football of the season as evidenced by the 44-7 destruction of the Bills.

He prefers to view things practice by practice and game by game. But owner Jerry Jones doesn't mind surveying the big picture and putting into context what the Cowboys need to do to make the playoffs.

At 5-4, they are one game behind the Giants in the NFC East. Jones said not only is surpassing the Giants the Cowboys' best route to the playoffs, he doesn't believe the wild card is an option. There are six teams with a better record than the Cowboys in the NFC. The Falcons have the same record. The Lions, who will be fighting for a wild-card berth, hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Dallas.

"It's very early, and I wouldn't dare to venture what can happen," Jones said. "I wouldn't dare to venture. I will say this: We're going to need to win the division, I think, to get in the playoffs."

Garrett knows where the Cowboys stand. He just prefers to focus on the Redskins game on Sunday.

"That is put in front of us all the time," Garrett said. "Every week someone says you see what the teams in the NFC East did. I live in the real world. I am certainly aware of what the records are of the teams in our division. But if you get so focused on how this team did against them early on in the season then you are not focused on the right thing.

"That is how we try to approach it as a coaching staff and how we try to approach it as a football team. We try to be our best and try to focus our attention on being as good as we can be on all the opportunities that we get."

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