DALLAS COWBOYS SCHEDULE UPDATE: NFL flexes Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys to SNF for NFC East title game
The Dallas Cowboys are headed back to “Sunday Night Football” for another win-and-in Week 17 showdown.
The NFL announced Sunday night that the game between Dallas and the Philadelphia Eagles to decide the NFC East title was flexed into prime time. This is the third consecutive season that the Cowboys have played in the Sunday night regular-season finale, and this will be their third different divisional opponent. The host Cowboys are looking for their first division title since 2009.
The Eagles and Cowboys played in a similar do-or-die game to make the playoffs in 2008, with Philadelphia coming out on top.
The league also announced that both the Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots matchup and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New Orleans Saints game were moved to 4:25 p.m. ET. The NFL tries to ensure there are no competitive advantages based on time of game in Week 17, and thus, attempts to create a situation where every team has something at stake.
The Patriots game’s change means that the Denver Broncos can’t clinch home-field advantage in the AFC until they face the Oakland Raiders in the late afternoon. The final NFC playoff wild-card spot also will not be decided until the 4:25 p.m. ET games end.
As a result of the Bears’ loss to the Eagles on Sunday, Chicago’s Week 17 game against the Green Bay Packers will also move to 4:25 p.m. ET. The Bears-Packers clash will decide the NFC North.
No division titles have been clinched in the NFC.
ARLINGTON, Texas – It looked for all the world that there had finally been a break in the curious case of Jay Ratliff.
NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya spoke with Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones about the Pro Bowl defensive tackle on Sunday ahead of the Cowboys’ primetime game against Washington. Based on talking to Jones, Tafoya was not confident that Ratliff would be returning to the team’s roster this week after his six-week stay on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.
Said Tafoya: “My interpretation, based on Jerry Jones’ body language and his tone, is that Jay Ratliff will not be playing for the Cowboys anymore.”
In the scrum of the Cowboys’ post-win locker room, though, Jones said he wasn’t ready to agree with Tafoya’s assessment.
“I’m not familiar with that report. I didn’t hear it. Our plans are to visit, not only with him but medical and see what we’re going to do with our timing on any PUP or IR considerations,” Jones said. “But we’ve still got a lot of work and decisions to make. But I didn’t hear that report.”
It’s just the latest twist in a long and winding road for Ratliff in the past year. The eight-year veteran missed 10 games in 2012 with a litany of injuries, and injury issues have followed him into 2013. Ratliff missed all of the Cowboys’ summer training camp with a hamstring injury, reportedly suffered during his pre-camp conditioning test. When the team’s preseason ended, Ratliff was placed on the PUP, making him ineligible through the first six games.
The Cowboys’ 31-16 win against Washington on Sunday night got them through the first six weeks with a 3-3 mark, but Ratliff’s future doesn’t seem any clearer. Jones said those conversations will start happening this week as Dallas prepares for a road game against Philadelphia.
“Let’s just see how the week goes and see where we are,” he said. “We’re looking at what the prospects are of him being active, and we just have to see how that goes. I think I’ll have a better, more accurate reading on that for you as the week goes on.”
That seems hard to believe based on recent history, however. The Cowboys haven’t been able to clearly update Ratliff’s injury status since training camp, and the veteran hasn’t been much of a presence around the team’s Valley Ranch training facility. Despite that, Jones said the Cowboys have been in contact with Ratliff on a consistent basis, and he added that Ratliff will be present at the facility in the coming week.
“We’re communicating. He’s in and out – we have communication,” Jones said. “But it’s not that type of issue with him – in any way not being what we want him to be. We want him to be healthy, and he wants to be healthy. But we’ve got to take a look at his progress.”
Jones said it’s not that uncommon for veteran players to rehab from injuries away from the day-to-day activities of the team – provided they’re communicating with the coaching staff. Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders and Pro Bowl tight end Jay Novacek are two “name players” Jones listed as doing such.
“Deion did that some. Deion did that when he was here – had combinations of trainers and workouts,” Jones said. “But he recognized the order of things and recognized the need to do it on a team basis. But we’ve had several name players that would show that they respected what the coaches want and respected what we want, but they would also go at their own pace with strength and conditioning. Novacek was one of them.”
However murky the situation has been this season, Jones said the Cowboys have some decisions to make this week – decisions that may bring some clarity to the issue, with Ratliff or without him.
“We’re going to kind of look at a lot of things here this week, and probably have something to give everybody a better direction on,” he said. “You have a right to know, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve just got to decide what we’re going to do in the short and the long term.”
AT&T STADIUM GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE: Larry Allen to receive Hall of Fame ring during Cowboys-Redskins game
WHAT: Washington Redskins (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
WHEN: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. (CDT)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The Dallas Cowboys play their fourth home game and their second Sunday Night Football game this weekend against their NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins.
Here are some things to look for:
One More Ring For Larry Allen
Newly-inducted Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Allen already has several rings. He earned one when he helped the Cowboys to the Super Bowl XXX championship, and he was added to the team’s Ring of Honor on Nov. 6.
Allen will be presented with his Hall of Fame ring during halftime of the Cowboys-Redskins game, as he became the 12th Cowboys player and the 14th member of the Cowboys organization to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Allen was enshrined on Aug. 3, the night before the Cowboys’ Hall of Fame Game victory against Miami to open the 2013 preseason.
Allen will wear his iconic gold Hall of Fame jacket for the ceremony, and his Hall of Fame bust, which typically resides in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, will be shipped to Dallas for the occasion.
Did You Know?
- The roof and doors are scheduled to be closed. Please note that this can change up to 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
- LED bracelets will be given to fans attending the game, courtesy of Reliant and the Dallas Cowboys.
On the Plazas
Other forms of entertainment will abound at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.
- The Jason Dee Williams Band will perform on the East Plaza from 6:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday night, just before kickoff.
- On the West Plaza, the J.J. Pearce Mustang Stampede Dance Group will give 10-minute performances at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will split their squad in half for pregame performances on both the East and West Plazas at 10:35 a.m.
- Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
- There will also be a free Kids Zone, complete with mechanical bull, rock climbing wall and zip line. There will also be NFL Play 60 games, face painting and balloon animals.
- There will also be giveaways like official game-used merchandise, CD’s, and much more on each stage in the plazas for games like Karaoke Contest, Ladder Golf, Bag Toss and Dance Contest
There will also be Plaza food and beverage discounts: $2 for 12oz. soda & bottled water; $5 for 12oz. Miller beer, as well as discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
- Trumpeter Freddie Jones will once again perform the national anthem Sunday, as he is scheduled to do for every home game this fall. Jones’ instrumental anthem has been wildly popular at the Cowboys’ first three home games this season.
… Looking For 20
All season long, Cowboys fans attending home games will be hoping for at least 20 points. This year, Papa John’s has partnered with the Cowboys for the ultimate fan promotion. Any game in which the Cowboys get at least 20 points, all fans in attendance will get 50 percent off their entire order the following day at papajohns.com with promo code COWBOYS20. Offer valid for regular-priced menu items and only at participating stores.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy, which will be in effect Sunday night and at every Dallas Cowboys home game this season.
Only hand-held purses will be allowed into the stadium, along with clear plastic tote bags that do not exceed 12”x6”x12” inches.
Items such as backpacks, coolers, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, fanny packs and seat cushions are not allowed into the stadium under the new NFL safety rules.
Traffic & Parking:
- It’s recommended to use www.dallascowboysmaps.com for all travels to AT&T Stadium. This website provides the best routes from point of origin to the pre-purchased or selected cash parking lot.
- The I-30 HOV lane is being converted to a managed toll lane. As a result, HOV lanes from west of downtown Dallas to the Tarrant County line will not be available. However, you can access the HOV lane that serves the left exit to AT&T Way, as it will continue to be open for in-bound and out-bound needs.
- Lamar Avenue in Arlington is under construction and has been reduced to one lane from Collins to Ballpark Way.
About the Game
- Sunday night marks the 106th meeting all-time between the Cowboys and Redskins. The Cowboys lead the series by 20 games with a mark of 62-42-2. The Redskins swept both meetings in 2012, the first time that has happened since they won both games during the 2005 season.
- A Washington win would give the Redskins a three-game winning streak in the series. That has only happened twice since 1960, when the Redskins won three in a row between 1983 and 1984, and when they won four in a row between 1986 and 1988.
- The Cowboys’ longest streak in the series is 10 games, when they went unbeaten against the Redskins from Nov. 16, 1997, until Dec. 29, 2002.
- The largest margin of victory for either team came during Dallas’ 38-3 victory against Washington on Dec. 26, 1993.
- The Redskins’ lone victory of the season came during their 24-14 Week 4 win against Oakland, giving them an 0-1 record against the AFC West. The Cowboys are 0-3 against that division this season, with losses to Kansas City, San Diego and Denver.
NBC telecasts of “Sunday Night Football” will be lacking faith this season.
Well, Faith Hill.
Hill has opened NBC’s telecast for the past six seasons, belting out her song “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night,” a reworked version of the Joan Jett hit, “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
The intro starred Hill — usually in high heels — intercut with a computer-generated montage of NFL stars (you might recall Adrian Peterson making a dynamic football move on a frozen lake this past season).
Judging by Hill’s tweet, it appears it was her decision to step away from the “SNF” brand.
Expect NBC to replace the country icon with a similarly safe, commercially relevant artist whom your mom knows.
Courtesy: Dan Hanzus | NFL Around the League Writer