For the past three weeks, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells has lamented his team's plight of having to play three games in 11 days.
He talked about the toll it would take on the team and its need to survive it to stay in the playoff race.
Despite a disappointing 24-21 loss to the Broncos last Thursday, the Cowboys finished the stretch with a 2-1 record, thanks to victories over the Eagles and the Lions.
The Cowboys will have 10 days off between Thanksgiving Day and their Dec. 4 matchup against the Giants.
Not only will they be able regroup from the devastating loss to the Broncos, but they also will have a chance to get healthy for the final, five-game push.
"I think it should help us for sure," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "It's a good time for the guys that are bruised up and nicked up to get closer to being healthy. It allows us to get a head start on the game we have a week from Sunday. It helps us now that we have gotten through this tough stretch with three games so quick to have a little extra rest."
Parcells said the added rest will only prove beneficial if the Cowboys bounce back with a victory against the Giants.
But what is certain is that the Cowboys are trying to make the most of the layoff.
Center Al Johnson had the 10-day layoff in mind when he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair some torn cartilage in his knee shortly after the Broncos game. There is a chance he could be ready to play against the Giants. The Cowboys also hope cornerback Anthony Henry is also back in the lineup. He missed the Broncos game after aggravating a torn groin injury last week in practice. And third receiver Patrick Crayton, who has been out since hurting his ankle in the first meeting against the Giants, could be ready to go.
Of course the Cowboys will need to be at full strength for the final push because they are facing a difficult schedule.
After the Giants game, they face the Chiefs at home before back-to-back road games against the Redskins and the Panthers. They finish the season at home against the Rams.
"We've got a chance to come back and play to be at the top of the division against the Giants," linebacker Bradie James said. "That's where our focus is.
"Bill's message was, 'Keep your head up and get ready to come back to work.' We still have things to play for. Our season is nowhere near over."
One big run ruined an otherwise fine defensive effort by the Cowboys, who lost 24-21 to the Broncos in overtime on Thanksgiving Day.
Ron Dayne's 55-yard dash on the second play of overtime moved the Broncos into field-goal range. Jason Elam followed with a 24-yard field goal to end the game.
Dallas had a chance to take a lead in the fourth quarter, but Billy Cundiff missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt.
The Broncos managed just 293 total yards. They had just 89 yards on the ground prior to Dayne's OT run.
Drew Bledsoe threw two touchdown passes and ran for a 1-yard score.
--C Al Johnson underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up loose cartilage in his knee. He could be back for the Giants game on Dec. 4. If he can't go, look for Andre Gurode to start in his place.
--T Marcus Price was signed to a one-year contract on Friday. He replaces Ethan Brooks, who was released.
--T Ethan Brooks was released Friday.
Westbrook, an all-purpose back who is used as much as a receiver in the Eagles offense as he as is a runner, notched just the third 100-yard rushing performance of his career, punching out 117 yards on a season-high 21 carries.
"I have the ability to run routes as well as run the ball," Westbrook said. "Whatever way I touch the ball, I'm happy. I just want to touch the ball. But as a running back, you always want to run the ball first."
For much of the first half of the season, the Eagles and their pass-happy head coach, Andy Reid, eschewed the run. In the first 26 quarters this season, they threw the ball 388 times and ran it just 109. It was one of the most lopsided pass-run ratios in league history.
But that has changed significantly in the past several games. For the first time this season, the Eagles ran the ball more than they threw it (34 to 28) against the Packers. In the past 18 quarters, they've thrown it 157 times and run it 135 times.
They racked up 180 rushing yards against the Packers, which is a bit surprising considering that they had three starters on their offensive line with a total of two NFL starts between them.
"The games have been a little closer, and it's given us more opportunities to call some more running plays," Reid said.
The Eagles took advantage of five Green Bay turnovers to snap a four-game losing streak and edge the Packers 19-14.
Philadelphia's pass defense has taken a beating this season, but it played well against Brett Favre and the Packers, intercepting Favre twice and holding him to 15 completions on 33 attempts.Running back Brian Westbrook notched just the third 100-yard rushing game of his career, picking up 117 yards on 21 carries. He scored the Eagles' only touchdown, on a 27-yard run in the first quarter. The Eagles' other points came on four David Akers' field goals.
--RB Lamar Gordon left the Green Bay game in the third quarter with a concussion and didn't return. Gordon had just 10 yards on three carries before getting hurt.
--RB Brian Westbrook doesn't seem to be having any durability problems. He had a season-high 27 touches against Green Bay and has 90 in the last four games.
--DT Sam Rayburn injured his shoulder against Green Bay and will have an MRI on Monday. He returned to the game and played.--LT Todd Herremans, who got his first NFL start Sunday against Green Bay, held his own against Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. The Eagles rushed for 180 yards, much of it to Herremans' side.
The Giants and the Dallas Cowboys will break their first-place tie in the NFC East on Sunday, although the Giants had a chance to enter the game with a one-game lead.
The Giants were 7-3 going to Seattle, knowing Dallas already was a loser on Thanksgiving Day. But the Giants lost to the Seahawks, 24-21 in overtime, after Jay Feely missed three field goals -- from 40, 54 and 45 yards.
Now it's the Giants and Cowboys in Giants Stadium, both teams 7-4 with five games remaining, and the winner will have a precarious but precious lead.
The Giants finish their season with games against Philadelphia, Kansas City, Washington and Oakland, and they could have used the near-miss against Seattle.
The game will match the Giants' former head coach and winner of their only two Super Bowl championships, Bill Parcells, against a former assistant coach and pupil, the Giants' current head coach, Tom Coughlin.
"That is a gut-wrenching way to lose a game," Coughlin said Sunday. "But we have to just pick it up and go forward. That's our goal this week, to regroup and find a way to make this up."
The Giants did everything right but win the game at Seattle. They managed to tie the Seahawks at 21 with 1:59 to play. Eli Manning connected with wide receiver Amani Toomer on an 18-yard pass, and then they had to convert a two-point play, which they did when Manning hit tight end Jeremy Shockey.
There were five possession exchanges in the overtime, Seattle getting the ball, finally, with 6:05 to play. The winning drive was given life when Feely missed a 45-yard field goal, which was hit straight enough but fell short. Seattle ultimately got a 36-yard Josh Brown field goal for a 24-21 win.
Manning completed 29 of 53 passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted once. Running back Tiki Barber ran 26 times for 151 yards (and surpassed 1,000 for the season with 1,118). There were two receivers with triple digit numbers -- Shockey had 10 catches for 127 yards; wideout Plaxico Burress had six for 109.The Giants committed 11 false start penalties and 16 penalties overall, the most by a team in the NFL since 1941.
--RCB Curtis Deloatch, who played badly last week and then fell victim to a turf burn infection, was taken out of the starting lineup for rookie Corey Webster. But he did play against Seattle on nickel and dime formations.
--PK Jay Feely stood in front of a crowd of reporters and accepted full blame for the loss against Seattle. "I got up in the locker room and said I was sorry, that I let the guys down," he said. "There were two good opportunities (for field goals) and one I could have made (the 54-yarder). There will be no pouting, just me coming back next week and working hard."
--WR Plaxico Burress walked to PK Jay Feely as the game ended and put his arm around him. "We win as a team and we lose as a team," he said. "It is not one person's fault."--Coach Tom Coughlin said he would not blame Sunday's loss on PK Jay Feely. "I felt bad when we had to stop driving to try field goals," he said. "We should have been good enough to keep going and get a touchdown."