Cowboys' confidence apparent to Vikings

Brett Favre acknowledged that the Cowboys have momentum and confidence heading into the divisional playoff game between Minnesota and Dallas. The Cowboys are also feeling self-assured after winning their last four games.

The Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFL.

They have won their last four games, including the last three by a combined score of 75-14.

And they head into their divisional playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings as the NFC favorites.

Of course this is the same Vikings team that looked like a juggernaut itself in blitzing to a 10-1 start before losing three of its last four games.

So what does it all matter?

Do you have to be hot to win or does the best team usually win?

The Colts rode a nine-game winning streak into the playoffs last season before losing their first game. The Cardinals, meanwhile, lost four of their final six games but got hot in the playoffs and went all the way to the Super Bowl last year.

Time will tell this year.

But clearly the Vikings would rather be like the Cowboys, riding high and feeling good instead of trying to recapture the magic in the postseason.

"If you had to look at both teams, us and the Cowboys, you'd go, ‘OK, aside from the fact that the Cowboys are playing at the Vikings, who is the hottest team right now?' Well, I mean, no duh. The Cowboys are," Vikings quarterback Brett Favre said. "In all phases, they are playing great. Their defense is playing outstanding. They are peaking at the right time, if you will."

The Cowboys are riding a four-game winning streak, while the Vikings lost three of the last four games of the regular season and come into this game off of a bye.

"What kind of momentum you have or what kind of confidence you have has a lot to do with your team and how they feel about themselves going in," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said.

"We have such a good feeling about this team. I'm in the moment with them."

Favre said the Vikings need to get back to where they were when they opened the season with a 10-1 record to have a chance against a Cowboys team that is "feeling it."

"I mean, this is the playoffs," Favre said. "Rarely can you play badly or average and win. So we are aware of how we need to play. In the fact, that we are playing maybe, in my opinion, the hottest team in football right now. Just from a confidence level, from just watching them play, they are making plays, they know they are making plays, they are confident. And all those things are so (similar to) the Giants a few years ago. That's it really in a nutshell. You can see it, you can feel it. (The Giants) just had that air about them that they couldn't be beaten. So Dallas is playing like that right now. They are feeling it."

Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman doesn't his team is feeling good about itself of late.

The Cowboys have gone from being a team that couldn't win a playoff game to one that has legitimate Super Bowl dreams.

"I hate to bring up old things, but the Giants, they got hot at the right time and they won it all," Newman said. "Hopefully, we're on that same type of streak.

"I think a lot of guys are playing with a lot of confidence and that's important. As long as you keep moving forward and keep the confidence up, swag, so to speak, we should be all right."

SERIES HISTORY: 27th meeting. Cowboys lead the series 14-12. Minnesota has won five of the last six meetings. The Cowboys won the last meeting in 2007. The teams have met six times in the postseason with the Cowboys holding a 4-2 advantage.

BY THE NUMBERS: 148 - Number of yards Felix Jones rushed for last week in the Cowboys' playoff victory over the Eagles. He carried 16 times with a long of 73 yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's tough. You want to try to quiet those guys down. They are the only team in the NFL that when you watch film, the film is shaking. So I don't know how that's possible, but it is." - Cowboys WR Roy Williams on the noise at the Metrodome.

NOTES

  • Brad Childress was the Eagles' offensive coordinator before taking the head coaching job with the Vikings. So it will not be a surprise if Childress gives Philadelphia coach Andy Reid a call before facing the Dallas Cowboys in a playoff game on Sunday.

    "I imagine I'll touch base with him before the week is out," Childress said. "He's got enough on his plate, and quite frankly I've got enough on mine just watching the Cowboys."

  • LB Leon Williams was signed to the reserve/future list. He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2006 by the Cleveland Browns and stayed there until he was cut in September.

  • RB Marion Barber will do his best to get on the field for Sunday's game against the Vikings. Barber is from Minneapolis and played at Minnesota. He was held out of the last two preseason games at Minnesota.

    "I just sense with Marion he wants to play," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "He's been mad at me the last two years because I didn't let him play in the preseason games up there. I know he wants to play there just from that."

  • FS Ken Hamlin was fined $12,500 by the NFL for two fouls against the Eagles. One came for hitting Eagles tight end Brent Celek in the helmet in the first half. Hamlin was also penalized for a late hit on Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin.

  • WR Roy Williams had five catches for 59 yards against the Eagles to rebound from what had been a late season slump. He had two catches for 18 yards in the final three games of the season.

    "It was good for him," wide receivers coach Ray Sherman said. "I just think he was trying too hard and he was trying to make a play. He was trying to do too many things.

    "Just let the game come to him. Just do your job; do what you're supposed to do and it will happen. He made some plays. He made some big plays that helped us. It was good for him. It was a real good game for him."


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