Ezekiel Elliott: Cowboys 'right where we need to be' in NFC East

Throw out the records come Thanksgiving afternoon when the Washington Football Team faces rival Dallas Cowboys. No, seriously. Throw them out and never look at them again.

With both Washington and Dallas earning Ws on Sunday and the Philadelphia Eagles losing, the entirety of the four-team NFC East has three wins apiece. That means the winner of the Thanksgiving showdown will take the division lead with four wins.

The Cowboys snapped a four-game losing streak to get to 3-7, beating the Minnesota Vikings on the road with an Andy Dalton-led 31-28 comeback.

"We never thought we were out of it," Ezekiel Elliott said, via ESPN. "Our division's been struggling this year. We're right where we need to be with what's been going on with the division. We've got to build on this success, so we can't come out on a short week and take a step back against a division opponent. We've got to make sure we build on the success and keep getting better."

Context is everything.

In any other NFC division, the Cowboys would be in the basement. Instead, they have a chance to swoop into the lead with a Thanksgiving feast.

Sunday marked Dallas' first win under a starting QB not named Dak Prescott since Matt Cassel in Week 13, 2015 at Washington. The Cowboys scored more than 20 points and topped 375 total yards for the first time since Prescott's injury in Week 5 against the Giants.

The win over Minnesota puts the Cowboys in position to make a run at the division title. Beginning Thursday, Dallas plays just one team that has more than four wins: Washington (3-7), Baltimore (6-4), Cincinnati (2-7-1), San Francisco (4-6), Philadelphia (3-6-1) and the New York Giants (3-7).

"There's a lot of football left to be played," coach Mike McCarthy said. "You have to play your best football in November and December, so obviously with the state of our division, that focus is ours. We need to win Thursday, and this will be our first opportunity to really stack success, and that's the key to where we are as a team. All three phases played well. This is clearly the most rounded performance, victory we've had this year. It took us a little longer to get here, but I clearly think the journey will make us stronger.

"We need to do something with this win. It needs to mean something."

A loss to Washington would push Jerry Jones' team back into the cellar of the NFC East. A win could set up McCarthy for a postseason bid in his first year in Dallas.

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