"A Measuring Stick"

The Cowboys see Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos game as a measuring stick. On paper, this looks like a game when they find out just how good they really are.

The Cowboys (7-3), who are tied with the Giants atop the NFC East, believe they are good. But there is no question about the Broncos (8-2).

Denver is easily the best team the Cowboys have faced this year, and some players believe the Broncos are playing as well or better than any team in the league -- including the undefeated Colts.

"It's a huge test," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "Denver is good, real good. This will be a heck of a challenge."

"You got a team that is probably the best in the league," receiver Keyshawn Johnson said. "With all due respect to the Colts, the Broncos have played superior opponents. They have an excellent coach. They have a quarterback on fire and a running game that has always been one of the best. We will have to have our 'A' game. You can't come in with your 'B' game and expect to win."

Since a season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins, Denver has won seven of eight, including an impressive 27-0 shutout of the New York Jets Sunday afternoon.

Simply put, the Cowboys, who have been sluggish in their past two wins, know they have to play better in order to beat the Broncos.

"We didn't play up to our standards," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "But it's a good problem to have, winning and not playing well. But we understand we have problems and we have to correct them if we wan to continue to win."

The Cowboys say they need to be more consistent on offense, and they also must improve their pass blocking.

Protection for Bledsoe has been suspect since left tackle Flozell Adams was injured against the Giants.

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