The NFC East looked like a foregone conclusion a month ago. Not today.
The Dallas Cowboys, at 8-6, are in a three-way tie with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants for the division lead. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his team went into Sunday's 27-24 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers knowing they could grab a piece of the pie after the Giants were trounced by the Atlanta Falcons.
"We were all aware of it before we played," Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Our team knew that we had an opportunity to get into a position to lead the East. ... I think it's great because it shows several things. No. 1, it shows that these teams are pretty close and No. 2, you can legitimately look at how the Giants played last year and what they did at the end of the year and how they took it all the way, and that's not unrealistic to think that it can happen to you."
The remaining two weeks of games and a bees' nest of tiebreaker scenarios promise further drama, but Jones hopes it doesn't come down to that. He openly admired the Giants' ability to turn a 9-7 record into a Super Bowl run a season ago.
The Cowboys didn't look like a team about to follow suit when they fell to 5-6 and were mired in sloppy play, but three consecutive wins have Dallas back in the picture and Jones dreaming visions of what comes next. We're not entirely convinced that will amount to much in January, but the Cowboys have taken care of business down the stretch.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.