No Super Bowl Talk ... Yet

Bill Parcells doesn't want to talk playoffs or Super Bowl. At least not publicly. The coach prefers to say that too much still can happen and the Cowboys need to worry about the upcoming game against the Saints.

He would prefer leaving the big-picture talk and dreams to owner Jerry Jones, who is admittedly prone to hyperbole.

But no one -- not even Parcells -- can deny the truth. Per the league office, there is a scenario in which the Cowboys can clinch a playoff berth with a victory Sunday against the Saints. It would also take a loss by the Eagles, Rams, Vikings, 49ers and Falcons.

Basically, the Cowboys are playoff bound one way or another. Winners of five the last six games and four straight, the Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFC. And while the Bears might have the best record, the Cowboys are playing the best football, legitimizing their hopes of making the Super Bowl.

So with that in mind, it was Parcells who talked to his team about what they need to do to become "Super."

"I spoke with them about things I thought that championship teams do at this time of year," Parcells said. "I'm just making reference to what you have to do after Thanksgiving if you're going to do something," Parcells said. "When the Patriots won (the Super Bowl in 2002), they won nine games after Thanksgiving. The Steelers, I think they won seven or eight after Thanksgiving last year."

Parcells doesn't want the Cowboys to get complacent and full of themselves. He wants them to stay on a roll and go into the playoffs on a hot streak. He knows that December is the month where legitimate Super Bowl contenders assert themselves.

He should know. Before coming to the Cowboys, the two-time Super Bowl champion coach had a record of 50-25-1 after Dec. 1. The Cowboys are 7-9 in December since he arrived in 2003.

But this year they are looking to change that.

It's not just about making the playoffs anymore. It's about playoff positioning and securing home field so you they can legitimately make a Super Bowl run.

LEFTOVERS
* RB Marion Barber has been the Cowboys' most productive running back of late but don't expect him to replace Julius Jones in the starting lineup. Barber led the team in rushing Sunday with 12 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the NFC with 11 rushing touchdowns, which equals the most by a Cowboys player since Emmitt Smith had 11 in 1999. "He is aggressive with the ball," coach Bill Parcells said. "He has a good nose for the goal line. He is making a difference for us." Jones had a season-low 24 yards and tied a season low with 11 carries. Jones was in on 31 plays while Barber was in on 29. Parcells said he likes the joint production and plans to leave it that way.

* QB Tony Romo has a current passer rating of 102.4, and is tops in the NFL among all starting quarterbacks in passer efficiency. Peyton Manning is currently second at 100.1. In his six starts, Romo has completed 129-of-187 attempts (69.0 percent) for 1,651 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions for a 105.3 rating. He is 5-1 as a starter. Romo has thrown for more than 220 yards in his first six career starts, becoming the only quarterback in Cowboys history to throw for more than 220 yards in his first six career starts. "I don't have any complaints with Tony," coach Bill Parcells said. "He's preparing very hard, he's trying to do things. His head is in the game, he's very competitive and he plays with confidence."

* DE Kenyon Coleman played extensively in place of the disappointing Marcus Spears against the Giants. Coach Bill Parcells said he is not happy with Spears or right defensive end Chris Canty. He said their play must improve or he will make changes in the starting lineup. Rookie Jason Hatcher is a candidate to replace Canty. Both Canty and Spears have one sack this season. Parcells said they are having trouble making the transition from run to pass on first down, impacting the Cowboys' ability to get pressure on the quarterback. "I'm just hoping we can get Marcus and Chris going because they have good ability," Parcells said. "I'm just telling you we need to improve the play and it needs to get here in the last month. We've got some guys around them playing well. If they'll just hold up their end a little bit better I think we'll get back to playing better defense."

* WR Miles Austin has been more than a solid replacement for Tyson Thompson as a kickoff returner. He is averaging 25.3 yards per return, good for third in NFC. "He's got thick quads, thick legs, and he's got pretty good speed," coach Bill Parcells said. "Now, he's a little goofy. You don't know what exactly he's going to do all the time."

* WR Terrell Owens likes having the Saints on the schedule. In 13 games against the Saints, Owens caught 58 passes (39 for first downs) for 938 yards (16.2 average.) and 11 touchdowns.

* K Martin Gramatica may not have kicked much since 2004, which was why his game-winning kick against the Giants was so remarkable. But he's no stranger to game-winning kicks. It was Gramatica's eighth game-winning field goal and the 28th game-winning kick in Dallas Cowboys team history.

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