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Week 17 Morning Aftermath: Pressure mounts for the Cowboys

Though the Cowboys found a way to reverse their recent trend of disintegrating late in the regular season, the advent of the postseason brings with it two new mountains that must be scaled.

First, December 28, 1996.

That’s when the Cowboys last won a playoff game. And the 13-year streak will continue if they Cowboys can’t defeat the Eagles for a third time this season.

Second, they’re 0-2 when trying to beat a team for a third time in the same season.

Specifically, the Cowboys have faced twice in the last 11 years a division rival whom the Cowboys had swept during the regular season. In 1998, the Cardinals rebounded with a wild-card win at Dallas. In 2007, the Giants upset the Cowboys in the divisional round, also in Dallas.

So with round three of this year’s Eagles-Cowboys series slated for Dallas after Dallas won the two regular-season contests, it shouldn’t be presumed that the Cowboys will automatically continue their recent mastery of the Eagles.

Even though the Cowboys currently are one of the hottest teams in the NFC, a different dynamic will descend on Dallas in five days, when the team’s inability to win a game that really matters combines with the challenge of completing a three-game sweep.

Then there’s the reality that a loss quite possibly could result in a coaching change.

The tension might just be enough to get the guy who holds for extra points and field goals to come down with an unexpected case of popcorn hands, at the worst possible time.