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Cowboys' blueprint for success

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys' 24-21 win over the New York Giants was far from a perfect game for the Cowboys, but it showed me a lot about their team. For one, it proved that the Cowboys could get a win when they absolutely needed one -- something that we haven't been able to say in recent seasons. Remember that Week 17 game against the Washington Redskins last season?

Now don't get me wrong: This team is far from elite. There were plenty of errors made on both sides of the ball by Dallas, but the Cowboys revealed how they're going to have to win games from here on out.

Let's examine the Cowboys' blueprint for success and what they have to do to win the NFC East.

Establish the running game

Tony Romo will get the credit in the papers on Monday, and he should for a terrific fourth-quarter drive, but this game was won in large part because Jason Garrett didn't abandon the run. And because the Cowboys were effective running the football early.