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Parcells message ringing true for Cowboys

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Many years of experience convinced Bill Parcells the Dallas Cowboys still would have a chance in the NFC, even when they were struggling and being written off by everyone else.

And that's what he kept telling his players.

His message doesn't seem so crazy now.

The Cowboys (5-7) have won consecutive games for the first time since September, including a two-touchdown comeback in the final two minutes at Seattle. That makes them one of six teams a game behind in the standings for the NFC's second wild-card spot.

I tried to tell the players six to eight weeks ago what was going to happen. I told them this is the way it's going to be,'' Parcells said Wednesday.Everybody else is going to tell you something else, but you better believe I'm telling you the truth.

``And it happened to be almost right on. You don't have to have a doctorate to figure it out.''

He's right.

There is only one dominate NFC team, the Philadelphia Eagles (11-1), and three other teams with a winning record. That means there is a high probability of a team making the playoffs at 8-8.

Parcells wouldn't say exactly what he's told his players, but his message is clear even if he still avoids that ``P-word.'' The Cowboys, who won three of their first 10 games, still have a playoff chance.

The coach never gave up on the season, and the players have taken that to heart. That was never more evident than in the 43-39 win Monday night in Seattle.

Dallas overcame a 14-3 deficit with 26 straight points, but fell behind again after Seattle scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys then scored twice in the final 1:45, recovering an onside kick between their touchdowns for the improbable comeback.

``That game showed a lot. It showed a lot of resilience, a lot of pride, a lot of teamwork, the don't-give-up attitude and all the things people have been questioning,'' safety Tony Dixon said.

``That's one of those things that happens in a season that you try to build off of it as much as you can,'' said tight end Jason Witten, who recovered the onside kick.

The Cowboys play Sunday against New Orleans (4-8), then go to Philadelphia, the only team left on their schedule with a winning record _ including a 49-21 win in Dallas last month. The regular season ends against Washington (4-8) and at the New York Giants (5-7).

Parcells wasn't talking Wednesday about the comeback against the Seahawks and hadn't taken any time to savor it.

I haven't thought about it too much really. Too busy,'' he said.It's a short week and you've got a whole new set of problems, and you don't get much sleep, so I think you have a tendency to not really reflect too much. You are on to the next day.''

Without a win against the Saints, Parcells knows the last two games the Thanksgiving Day win over Chicago and Seattle won't mean as much. So the latest message he's sent to his team is forget the past.

I think they've got (the Seattle win) behind them. I'm sure they have,'' he said.I didn't really say anything about the game. I talked to them about the future. That's what I talked about, how it's going to go.''

His players certainly have reason to believe him now.

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