Cowboys facing 'must-win' game with 13.1 percent playoff chance

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have never made the playoffs after a 3-5 start, and, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, they have just a 13.3 percent chance of making the 2018 postseason.

In fact, FPI favors the Cowboys to win just three more games.

The Cowboys’ focus, however, is on visiting the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Cowboys are 0-4 on the road and are coming off a deflating 28-14 home loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.

“They’re a good team. We’re on the road," defensive captain Tyrone Crawford said. "Coming off a loss. So we’ve got to bounce back and bounce back strong.

"We ain’t got no other choice but to win this game. We know that. And we know we got to come out swinging, man.”

A must-win?

“One hundred percent, yeah,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “It’s a must-win.”

With the short week, coach Jason Garrett opted to keep the players out of pads and even helmets for the shorter-than-normal Wednesday practice. Garrett knows he needs his team to be fresh physically and mentally.

The Cowboys felt so good entering the Titans game following the trade for Amari Cooper, the change at offensive line coach from Paul Alexander to Marc Colombo and a good week of preparation, only to be let down once again.

So what was the mood of the team Wednesday?

“We started off more in our feelings,” Crawford said, “but quickly bounced out of that and locked in for this week.”

The Cowboys are a young team. With Sean Lee out with a hamstring strain, they will not have an every-down player older than 30. Young players can get bogged down in the outside noise when a team struggles. In the recent past, the Cowboys had Jason Witten to lean on. Now, they don’t.

“You have to deal with success and adversity over the course of the 17-week NFL season, and you’re going to have a lot of success over the course of the season,” Garrett said. “You’re going to have some things you’re going to have to deal with, different adversities and the biggest thing you have to do is learn from your experiences and keep getting better. So you’re always trying to create an environment where everybody is learning regardless of how much experience they have. No different with this team.”