This is a different team. This is a different season. Blah, Blah, Blah.
The next four weeks will tell you everything you need to know about these Cowboys because if they don't get it done, it will be a different team that tries to make a Super Bowl run next season when the big game is at Cowboys Stadium.
Coach Wade Phillips will need to make the playoffs and win at least one game to save his job.
If he doesn’t he won’t be around for us to pick on anymore.
So there is no reason to pass judgment now. Whatever will be will be.
Phillips says he and the Cowboys winners and they will prevail in the end.
To do so they will have to do something they have never done before. Play well down the stretch.
It won't be easy as the Cowboys (8-4) have the league's toughest schedule to end with season with games against the Chargers (9-3), the Saints (12-0), the Redskins (3-9) and the Eagles (8-4).
The Cowboys (8-4) need to go 3-1 over the final four to guarantee a playoff spot with an 11-5 record. They could get in at 10-6 but it's no guarantee.
They would lose a wild-card tie breaker with the Packers (8-4) and the Giants (7-4). Remember the loss to the Packers and the Giants swept the season series.
And then there's this little matter of their history of fading down the stretch.
The Cowboys haven't had a winning record in December since 1996. After losing to the Giants last week, it has brought renewed questions and concerns about their late season failures.
No matter what Phillips says about the past not being a factor for this year's team, it is a big deal. The Cowboys made it so with the all to familiar December loss to the Giants last week.
It all makes Sunday's game against the Chargers a must-win affair.
With a road game against the undefeated Saints up next Saturday, the Cowboys are facing a three-game losing streak if they don't beat the Chargers.
And then all bets are off.
The Redskins would love to add to the team's misery the following week and of course we all know their history against the Eagles on the final day of the season.
The season is now. The season is Sunday against the Chargers.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.