COWBOYS NEED WIN TO SURVIVE.
Jesse Sapolu doesn't buy the argument that Sunday's game between San Francisco and Dallas is more important to the struggling Cowboys than the NFC West-leading 49ers.
``No question, their backs are against the wall. They're desperate, but we're desperate, too,'' the 49ers center said. ``We would like to think that we're desperate, because we need to win this game, too.''
The game matches the winners of the last four Super Bowls, but what typically served as a barometer of NFL supremacy in the 1990s has become a test of survival for Dallas (5-4). For the 49ers (7-2), a win would help them remain among the NFC elite seeking to position themselves for a run at home-field advantage in the playoffs.
``This is a game neither team can afford to lose,'' San Francisco tackle Steve Wallace said. ``For us, it's not only a chance to make a statement to the league, but for us to really hurt them. I mean, if they have another loss, that could be devastating.''
The Cowboys, the defending Super Bowl champions, regrouped from a 1-3 start to win four straight before last week's 31-21 loss to Philadelphia. Dallas drove to the Philadelphia 3-yard line in the final moments, but Troy Aikman threw an end-zone interception that was returned 104 yards for the Eagles' clinching score.
``Every time you drop back to throw the football or you drop back to do something, you've got to be willing to try to make some plays,'' Aikman said. ``It's just unfortunate the way that thing came down and the situation that it was in the ballgame.
``But I'm fine. The great thing about football is you get a chance to line up seven days later and do it all over again. That's behind me. I'm looking forward to this week.''
The defeat dropped Dallas two games behind NFC East-leading Philadelphia and Washington and puts pressure on the Cowboys to start winning just to return to the playoffs as a wild card.
``We're a team that is struggling,'' said Dallas coach Barry Switzer. ``We think we should be probably 7-2. But, hell, we're not. I don't know what it takes to get in, but we've got to win five or six of the next seven games, and against a very difficult schedule.''
The Cowboys face Green Bay (an NFC-best 8-1), New York and Washington after playing the 49ers.
Ironically enough, Aikman said the Cowboys can draw some hope for a turnaround from the example set last year by the 49ers, who pulled off a shocking 38-20 win at Dallas despite being without the injured Steve Young.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 8, 1996|
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