After all, they believe they have not played up to expectations in a season that began with legitimate Super Bowl hopes.
The Cowboys say there is time for them to get things together and get on a roll.
Most of their optimism surrounds the play of quarterback Tony Romo, who has gotten better with each passing game.
"You try to understand what your weaknesses are and try to understand what you haven't been doing well," said Romo. "And you just improve upon them."
Romo went from unknown fourth-year player to the team's quarterback of the future when he took over for Drew Bledsoe in the second half of the Giants game Oct. 29. He then helped beat the Carolina Panthers in his first start since 2002 at Eastern Illinois.
No, he didn't beat the Redskins last Sunday. But he did everything possible to give the Cowboys a chance to win, starting with a perfectly thrown pass to Terrell Owens that would have been a game clinching 74-yard touchdown. That was before Owens dropped it.
Then there was the drive in the final seconds to put the Cowboys in position to win the game on a field goal. He made a perfect 28-yard pass to tight end Jason Witten and managed the clock well. Again, before the ensuing field-goal attempt was blocked.
"I can't ask for any more than what I've seen these first two games," coach Bill Parcells said. "He won one game and he had his team in position to win the second. You can't ask the player to do any more than that."
What was most impressive was Romo's poise on the final drive. He looked like a seasoned veteran as he managed the clock and moved the Cowboys in position for a potential victory.
"I've played in a lot of flag football big games back in the day," Romo joked.
"It's always what you make it out to be," he continued. "If it's too big for you, if you're always going to think this is so huge or anything, you're probably not going to be that successful at the time. If you make it where, 'hey, I've been here before' -- you can call on a series or something you've done in the past -- you'll have confidence in those situations."
Parcells has played a role in Romo's development from Day One as a rookie undrafted free agent in 2003. Parcells is still taking a hands-on approach to the game plan and managing Romo during the game.
"I just want him to keep doing the same pretty much as he is doing," Parcells said. "I think if you have to caution Tony about one thing it's always patience because he thinks he can make every play.
"I'm more on, if something's open you just take it and don't be trying to wait and see if a bigger piece of cake comes along."
SERIES HISTORY: 84th meeting. The Cowboys lead the series 54-28-1. The Cowboys have won 21 of the last 27 meetings. Dallas had a 13-game win streak over Arizona (1990-96), the longest win streak against an opponent in club history. The Cowboys have faced the Cardinals just three times since Arizona moved from the NFC East to the NFC West.
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