IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can’t help but think about the New York Giants going from 7-7 to a Super Bowl title last season.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to remind him that the Green Bay Packers had a defense that overcame injuries and won a championship a year earlier — at his stadium, no less.
“You can legitimately look at how the Giants played last year, what they did at the end of the year and how they took it all the way,” Jones said after Dallas beat the Steelers in front of thousands of Terrible Towel-waving fans at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday. “And that’s not unrealistic to think that that can happen to you.”
Maybe Jones was a little giddy after the Cowboys beat Pittsburgh 27-24 in overtime for their third straight win.
Dallas is tied for first in the NFC East after winning three straight games and five of six, and for the first time in weeks doesn’t need help to reach the playoffs.
The Cowboys (8-6) are in if they beat New Orleans on Sunday at home and win at Washington in two weeks.
The game against the Redskins could end up looking a lot like last season’s finale, when the Giants beat the Cowboys in New Jersey with a playoff berth on the line.
The Green Bay connection is even more striking. The Cowboys have lost about as many defenders as the Packers did when they beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl after the 2010 season.
Four Dallas starters are on injured reserve, and a fifth — defensive tackle Jay Ratliff — won’t play again in the regular season after sports hernia surgery. Nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick (left hand and wrist) is out for the season as well, and rookie starter Morris Claiborne missed the Pittsburgh game with a concussion. Claiborne said Monday he thought he would play against the Saints (6-8).