The NFL was on high alert ahead of the first game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, and its players were already thinking about their post-game preparations for the game.
After all, the Giants had already been playing well in Week 8, when they defeated the Dallas Eagles 28-7.
“We were thinking about the playoffs right before we played them,” Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott told reporters on Thursday.
“I was afraid I didn’t have that luxury.”
The Cowboys have been playing without injured starting quarterback Dak Prescott since Week 7, and Elliott said he felt confident about the team’s ability to get through the second half.
“It feels like a different team,” he said.
But Elliott was not satisfied with his performance, as he said the Cowboys were “trying to figure out what we can do in the third quarter”.
“It feels really good to get back out there and play,” he added.
The Eagles will play the Houston Texans on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, the same venue where the Giants won their first playoff game since 2009.
Elliott said the Eagles had “got a lot of stuff we didn’t need to work on”.
The team also has a bye on Sunday, with a game against the Green Bay Packers and then a road game against Seattle before playing a road contest against the San Diego Chargers and then an eventual game against Oakland.
And Elliott has been making his mark on the Cowboys offense.
A few weeks ago, the Cowboys signed veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley to a five-year, $55 million contract.
Beasley’s move is the biggest signing of the offseason for the Cowboys.
He has caught just two passes for 11 yards and one touchdown in three games this season, but he has been a big part of the Cowboys’ success.
Beasley said he was looking forward to having a more regular role on the team.
On Thursday, Beasley was asked if the team was considering bringing back veteran tight end Jason Witten, who is also out for the season.
Witten, a four-time Pro Bowler, was signed as a free agent in March.
“(He’s) just one of those guys that’s been in the league for a long time,” Elliott said.
“He’s a great leader.
We’re looking forward too to getting back to him.
So we’ll see how things go.”
Beese had only played six games in two years before signing with the Cowboys last week.
At least for now, Elliott said, the team will continue to focus on preparing for the playoff game.
‘We have to take our game to the next level’The Cowboys won’t play the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday because of a rain delay and because the game is in Dallas.
Still, the club is optimistic that they can get the Seahawks to a victory, despite being down 10 points with 1:14 to play.
For Elliott, the biggest challenge is trying to keep his team motivated.
During a recent interview with Fox Sports, Elliott gave an insight into his thoughts about what his teammates need to do to help the team win.
In response to a question about the lack of a star player in the Cowboys backfield, Elliott responded: “I think we have to play our game, get the ball to our guys, and not just worry about trying to get the win and be successful, but we have got to take it to the other level.”
It will be interesting to see how this season progresses.
When asked whether the team had a chance to win the Super Bowl, Elliott told Fox: “No.
I think it’s gonna be tough.
I think it was pretty clear in Week 1.
I just think we’re just going to have to stay in the mindset that we can beat these teams and we have a chance.”
As for the future of Prescott, he is still looking to get his career back on track, but it’s clear the Cowboys don’t want to lose him.