The Cowboys won the NFC East on Sunday and are locked into the fourth seed. With nothing on the line against the Giants next Sunday, the prudent thing for the Cowboys to do would be to rest their starters.
But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett both said the Cowboys would play to win.
“Absolutely. We’re all-out,” Jones said. “We’ve got work to do. We’ve got some work to do out here, I think we’ll all agree. We don’t want to, if we can, go into the playoffs with dangling participles — loose ends.”
The Cowboys do have some dangling participles after their offense again failed to fully charge. The offense has scored 20 points over the past two weeks — the defense had a touchdown Sunday — and gained 524 total yards. Ezekiel Elliott has gone two games without a 100-yard game; Dak Prescott has thrown for a combined 367 yards over the past two weeks; and Amari Cooper has eight catches for 52 yards in the past two games.
“If guys are injured, obviously they aren’t going to play [against the Giants],” Garrett said. “If guys are able to play, we’re going to play them. We’ve got an important ball game in New York next week.”
That sounds all well and good, but playing and playing the entire game are two different things. The Cowboys likely treat it as a preseason game, which is what they did two years ago in Week 17 against Philadelphia after wrapping up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Elliott and Sean Lee didn’t play; Prescott played 15 snaps and Dez Bryant 18.