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Dak Prescott on facing Eagles: 'We have to win'

The Dallas Cowboys sit at 5-4, three games behind Philadelphia (8-1) in the NFC East and muddled just outside a playoff spot heading into Sunday night's showdown with the Eagles.

A Dallas loss to the division rivals would hand the Eagles a stranglehold on the division heading into Thanksgiving.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott isn't shying away from the importance of the Week 11 tilt, telling SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday it's a must-win game.

"I definitely checked out the Eagles," Prescott said when asked about whether he's taken a gander at the 8-1 division rivals. "(We) know what we're getting into, and they know what they're getting into. So, it is a big game. It's a huge game. And most importantly it's a big game because it's the next one that we play. Second to that, it's the Eagles. It's a rivalry, and they are leading our division right now. ... If we want to make a run at winning this division, giving ourselves a chance to play late into the season, it's a game that we have to win."

Dak added: "I do. I do personally. I look at every game as a must-win. This one it holds a lot of importance in it. As we get late in the season, the number of games are going down. You've got to shorten that gap and they're a couple of games up on us. So we have to do what we can and beat them. That starts this Sunday, it starts today."

Victory won't come easy for a Dallas team decimated by injury and without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott. Pivotal linebacker Sean Lee is expected to miss the game. Kicker Dan Bailey remains hurt. And perhaps most important to Prescott, left tackle Tyron Smith isn't guaranteed to return after his absence led to the quarterback getting mauled last week.

Prescott told NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano in an interview that will air today on Up To The Minute Live he's hopeful Smith, who's battling back and groin issues, will be healthy enough to play Sunday.

"He's doing well. I got all the faith in him and our trainers and just our organization on making sure he's ready to go when we need him," Prescott said.

The Eagles have won seven straight games and own the best record in the NFL. Facing a penetrating Eagles defensive line will be a challenge for Prescott and the backup running backs, with or without Smith on the field.

Following last week's pummeling loss, the Cowboys need to get their season back on track versus the best team in the NFL in a huge three-game homestand (versus the Eagles, Chargers and Redskins).

"We are excited for that challenge," Prescott told Siciliano. "We know we got a couple games coming up in a short stretch here. But no better time than to do it than after suffering a loss like that. The only thing you want to do is just get back out there and play another game to rebound. So, having these games coming up on us fast will be a good chance for us to just go out there prove the character of this team and bounce back the way that we know we can."

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