Looking like contenders, Cowboys host Giants in NFC East clash

Perhaps a year later than expected, the Dallas Cowboys have the look of a true contender in the NFC.Three straight wins have propelled them to the top of an East Division that doesn’t look a whole lot better than last year, when every team finished with a losing record. However, two of those came against apparent playoff contenders in the Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina Panthers.Dallas (3-1) tries to make it four in a row Sunday when it hosts the New York Giants in a division clash. It owns a one-game lead on Washington and is two up on New York and Philadelphia.It was the two games with the Giants last season that told the tale of a disappointing 6-10 campaign for Dallas. It won the first matchup at home but lost quarterback Dak Prescott for the season with an ugly fractured ankle that day, making a high-powered offense much more ordinary.The second game went the Giants’ way in Week 17, knocking the Cowboys out for good and resulting in Washington winning the division with a win at Philadelphia. It ignited questions as to whether coach Mike McCarthy was truly the solution on the sideline.These days, McCarthy appears to have Dallas on the right track, new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has improved a leaky unit and Prescott hasn’t missed a beat in his return. And with the re-emergence of running back Ezekiel Elliott, who carved up Carolina for 143 yards last week, the Cowboys don’t appear to have many holes.Elliott’s numbers were modest through three games. But owner Jerry Jones was convinced that Elliott was ready to break out, citing the offseason work he’d put in that dropped 10 pounds off his frame.”There’s no question that what you put in in spring, what you put in in training camp, that’s what you get out during the season,” Jones said. “He put it in during the offseason and it’s paying dividends for him.”