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Troy Aikman likes the atmosphere of a playoff game.

December 28, 1993

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Troy Aikman likes the atmosphere of a playoff game.

″I’ve got that playoff feeling this week,″ Aikman said. ″You couldn’t have a regular season game with more at stake. We’ve been in big games in the past, and I think that will help us.″

Aikman, the $50-million quarterback, leads the Dallas Cowboys into the Meadowlands on Sunday with the NFC East title and homefield advantage in the playoffs at stake in a matchup with the New York Giants. Both teams are 11-4.

The winner gets a bye and stays at home through the playoffs while the loser has to play a wildcard game next week.

″Let’s face it, the winner of this game has a better chance of making it to the Super Bowl,″ Aikman said. ″I think the homefield advantage is the most important thing in football. I think we’ll be extremely motivated. I know I will be.″

The Cowboys are on a four-game winning streak, and Aikman said he sees signs the team could be approaching the level it did last year on a January roll that took the Cowboys to the Super Bowl.

″I think we’re starting to put it together again,″ Aikman said. ″If there is one thing you want, it’s going into the playoffs on a roll. I see this as a winner-take-all game. And that’s the way it should be.″

Aikman said he has nothing but respect for coach Dan Reeves and the Giants.

″You can tell the Giants are playing with a lot of confidence,″ he said. ″They really play sound defense. They make you earn everything you get.

″I think it will be a low-scoring game, particularly if the weather is bad. I don’t expect a high-scoring game. I think it will be one of those physical, defensive games,″ he said.

Aikman also praised counterpart Phil Simms. ″He doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s a tremendous leader. I have a lot of respect for him.″

The last time Aikman played against the Giants, he pulled a hamstring in a 31-9 victory.

″Hopefully, I won’t have to do any running in this one,″ Aikman said. ″It’s going to be a tough game. It’s very, very difficult to beat a team twice in a season.″

Aikman said he was feeling a little pressure from all the hullabaloo over his contract, the highest-paying in NFL history.

″I think I’ve put a little pressure on myself. I might have done that Sunday, but I don’t feel like I have to do that anymore,″ Aikman said. ″Some people will think I should do more because of the contract, but they’ll always be some like that.″

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