ARLINGTON -- November was perfect. Tricky December waits for the Cowboys.
Two years ago, the Cowboys showed they could win in the last month of the year.
They won their last two games in December, another one in January, and then a playoff game. That after being only 9-14 in their previous 23 December games.
Now they head into the wintry holiday month again, this time on a four-game winning streak, only the third time the Cowboys have been that hot into December.
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The 2007 team took a six-game streak into December, went 2-2 and lost its playoff opener. The 1971 team took a four-game roll into December, went 4-0 with a playoff win and beat Miami in Super Bowl VI.
What fate awaits the 2011 squad, coming off two comfortable wins and two squeakers in November?
"You understand as you get going here, you start visualizing it," ninth-year tight end Jason Witten said. "The games get harder. The competition gets a little bit tougher. There's a different mentality."
With a nine-day break before their next game, the Cowboys hope they will approach December with better health.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins might be ready to come back after missing four games with a hamstring injury. Receiver Miles Austin has missed three games since going out in the Seattle game with a hamstring injury.
Running back Felix Jones has played the past two games after being out a month with a high ankle sprain.
But backup quarterback Jon Kitna (back) and fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness) remain serious concerns, and the Cowboys have given no indication of when they will be ready. Jones said on his Friday radio show he didn't expect either to be available Dec. 4 at Arizona.
"You can catch a break if the game before Thanksgiving is a blowout or we can do certain things to rest," quarterback Tony Romo said. "We weren't afforded that opportunity because Washington played such a good game last week."
The Cowboys started November with a 10-point win against Seattle that they put away in the second half. Then came a blowout of Buffalo, the most impressive game of the season. But the past two victories were in overtime and on a last-second kick in regulation.
"I actually think that the last two weeks is going to be a good thing for us, to pull out these types of games," cornerback Terence Newman said. "That's what is going to have to happen. You can't win every game 44-17 ... The ones that are going to be real meaningful are the ones you pull out in the fourth quarter."
Romo did not downplay the boost the four November wins have given the Cowboys. But he's not ready to look too far ahead.
"This was a stretch we needed to get going," he said. "We had some tough losses earlier in the year, and we were in position to win some games. And at some point you've got to get on a roll and stack the wins together. Getting these four wins was very big. We're trying not to think of it in the overall big picture yet."
The Cowboys will return to practice on Monday at Valley Ranch, preparing for a game at Arizona. After that, the Cowboys host the New York Giants in a game that could be for the NFC East lead, go to Tampa, then come back for a division game against Philadelphia.
"Everybody always talks about December, but if you can win in November, a lot of the stuff that you do in November can dictate how December is," linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. "I think we just have to win the games we can win right now and worry about December later."
The last game of the year isn't in December, but barely. It's on New Year's Day at the Giants.
No one knows what position the Cowboys will be in by then. But for now, they've put themselves in the best position they could have with a perfect November.
"If you can handle the week, somehow win the game before, somehow figure out a way to win the game on Thanksgiving Day, it can be a real advantage," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "Now the players will get three days off. We'll come back to work on Monday, and hopefully everybody gets a chance to decompress a little bit, take a breath, get refreshed and ready to go and we'll get some of our guys back and get going again."