Jason Garrett calling on the crowd

IRVING, Texas – As has been repeated over and over again this week, the Dallas Cowboys have lost their last two Week 17 appearances to the New York Giants and Washington Redskins with the NFC East title on the line.

What has not been repeated as much is the 2009 finale against the Philadelphia Eagles in which the winner claimed the division title and the right to host a wild-card game the following week. The Cowboys won the regular-season meeting 24-0 and the follow-up 34-14.

The crowds in those games were impressive. AT&T Stadium has hosted just the one playoff game but Sunday’s meeting against the Eagles is just like a playoff game, and coach Jason Garrett is already playing to the crowd.

“We’re going to need our fans on Sunday night to make a difference in this ballgame,” Garrett said. “Our players, our coaches, our football team and our organization, we’re awfully excited about this opportunity. We want our fans to be excited and show that excitement come Sunday night because they can make a difference in this ballgame.”

Kyle Orton, who will start at quarterback if Tony Romo cannot play, is glad the game will be at home because the crowd will largely be quiet when the Cowboys offense is on the field.

“Obviously this is a multiple front team, they bring a lot of pressure,” Orton said. “They’re a physical defense. They’re an attacking defense. Being able to be at home and not have to kind of deal with some of the road stuff for your first game is a benefit.”