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Giants' loss minimizes Cowboys' need to win vs. Lions

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — With the New York Giants falling to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, the Dallas Cowboys have locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC. That significantly devalues the importance of Monday night’s game with the Detroit Lions.
Just don’t tell that to the Cowboys.

“We’re really just focused on us and playing the best game we can play,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said during a Thursday conference call. “We’re locked in on that. We just had a good practice and that’s really where our focus is. We absolutely plan to continue to practice and play everybody and focus on winning the ball game on Monday.”

But why push it, especially with injuries at key spots?

The Cowboys were down multiple starters to start the week of practice, including both defensive ends, left tackle Tyron Smith and cornerback Morris Claiborne. Additionally, wide receiver Dez Bryant and linebacker Sean Lee were limited.

Even if they play, you have to wonder why the Cowboys would give them full workloads. They’ll be far more valuable to the team if healthy during the postseason.

What’s clear is the Lions won’t change their approach. Barring an unlikely series of events, they’ll still be fighting for a playoff berth on Monday. And they won’t let the idea of the Cowboys potentially lifting their foot off the gas be a factor in the remaining preparation.

“Yeah, doesn’t change ours at all,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “You know, we just forge ahead and prepare like we always prepare and we know it’s going to be an exciting ball game.”

It is business as usual as the Lions prepare for the Cowboys on Monday.