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DMN: Parcells: November is 'showtime' for Cowboys


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Parcells: November is 'showtime' for Cowboys

09:47 AM CST on Thursday, October 30, 2003


By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – The NFL schedule turns to November this week, and to coach Bill Parcells, the Cowboys have the chance to make their season. Or break it.

"It's showtime," Parcells said. "It really is showtime. Either you've got it or you don't have it. And when this month is over, I'll know a lot more about the Dallas Cowboys, the people on the Dallas Cowboys and where the future will be for some of those people."

As much as it's a one-week-at-a-time league, Parcells is taking a broader view. Four of the Cowboys' next five games are at Texas Stadium, starting Sunday against Washington, and teams with playoff aspirations do not lose at home.

Meanwhile, Dallas' NFC East rivals – Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants – play three of their next five games on the road. The Eagles and Giants play Nov. 16 in Philadelphia, which could be an elimination game for the loser.

"If we can play good football now and get to December, then I think we'll have a chance," Parcells said. "If we don't, then I think we'll be a middle-of-the-pack or less team. Simple as that."

Not that the Cowboys' November schedule is filled with certain wins. The Redskins are a traditional rival, so anything can happen. Buffalo (Nov. 9) has a dangerous offense and could have running back Willis McGahee, its first-round pick, available.

Parcells returns to New England on Nov. 16, and the Patriots are atop the AFC East with a 6-2 record and will see the return of injured players soon. Carolina (Nov. 23) leads the NFL South, and that's followed by a Thanksgiving matchup against Miami, which brings Ricky Williams back to Texas.

"We have a hard schedule, but it's a good schedule," Parcells said. "It could be to our advantage if we do a good job here."

A year ago, the Cowboys were 3-3 after six games and proceeded to collapse, which is why Parcells is in Dallas. The season fell apart after a four-interception game by Quincy Carter at Arizona that led to his benching. Sunday, Carter was intercepted twice and the offense was shut out for the first time since 2000 at Tampa Bay.

On Monday, Parcells was so upset by that game that he did not run his players, sending them home early instead.

"We just have to make up our minds and decide what kind of team we want to be," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "We need to do it. We've got a heckuva opportunity in front of us. It's up to the players. It's not up the coaches."

Last year's Cowboys lost eight of their last 10 games to finish 5-11. Glover blames poor execution and players simply going through the motions for the record. He doesn't believe that will happen this year.


"We've got a head coach who's won it all," Glover said. "We've got hungry players who are accountable now."

To Parcells, only undefeated Kansas City has control of its division at the moment, but the other seven are up for grabs, especially the NFC East. A win Sunday would give Dallas a 3-0 division mark, but two of the final three division games are on the road.

"You can play yourself into contention or out this month," Parcells said. "I think there will be a lot of teams that do that. Some will play themselves in and others will play themselves out. It's what happens all the time. And then the picture on Dec. 1 is going to be pretty clear.

"I still think if we can play good football and put a couple of wins together here, then we're going to set ourselves up. No matter where we are, if we play well the last month, we'll have a chance to do something. If not, we won't."

E-mail tarcher@dallasnews.com


A look at the Cowboys' schedule for the month of November:

Date Opponent Record

Nov. 2 Washington 3-4

Nov. 9 Buffalo 4-4

Nov. 16 New England 6-2

Nov. 23 Carolina 6-1

Nov. 27 Miami 5-2


With four of the next five games at Texas Stadium, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells believes his team has a chance to define the 2003 season while the other NFC East foes face a more daunting schedule. Here's a look at what the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles and Redskins face the next five weeks, with comments by Staff Writer Todd Archer:


Date Opponent Comment

Nov. 2 vs. Washington Redskins are 3-4 and have lost 10 of 11 to Dallas

Nov. 9 vs. Buffalo The Bills are not the team many had thought

Nov. 16 at New England Bill Belichick has Patriots playing well

Nov. 23 vs. Carolina The Panthers have a better front four than Tampa Bay

Nov. 27 vs. Miami Dolphins play a home night game the Sunday prior


Nov. 2 at NY Jets Not really an away game, but this is a rivalry game

Nov. 9 vs. Atlanta This shapes up as their only lock

Nov. 16 at Philadelphia The Eagles will be looking for season sweep

Nov. 24 at Tampa Bay Cowboys' fans saw what the Bucs did to their team

Nov. 30 vs. Buffalo Coming off a short week for Buffalo's offense


Nov. 2 at Atlanta The Falcons aren't what they were supposed to be

Nov. 10 at Green Bay Lambeau Field is not a nice place to visit at night

Nov. 16 vs. NY Giants The loser could be eliminated from the race

Nov. 23 New Orleans The Saints defense isn't too daunting

Nov. 30 at Carolina Case can be made that Panthers have best defense


Nov. 2 at Dallas Texas Stadium has not been too friendly to the 'Skins

Nov. 9 vs. Seattle Seahawks have the talent but are struggling currently

Nov. 16 at Carolina Stephen Davis gets to prove old team wrong

Nov. 23 at Miami Spurrier isn't well-liked in South Florida

Nov. 30 vs. New Orleans The Saints have played better lately

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