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Cowboys vs. Giants
John J. Raspanti
The Cowboys (8-7) and the Giants (8-7) will decide this Sunday who makes the playoffs and who goes home. The Giants railed from 12 down in the final five minutes to stun the Cowboys 37-34 two weeks ago. The Cowboys rebounded to beat Tampa Ball the following week 31-15 only to go flat against the Eagles, losing by the score of 20-7. Quarterback Tony Romo sustained a hand injury in the Eagle game that created more team indigestion. Romo has connected on 65 percent of his throws for 29 touchdowns. Romo’s injury looks to be improving. Though his December winning percentage is nothing to brag about the Cowboys need Romo to start if they expect to beat the Giants.
Coach Jason is looking forward to this Sunday’s game.
"There are a number of teams in the National Football League right now who have clinched playoff spots," Garrett said. "The large majority of teams have not done that. We are excited about the opportunity to go up to New York and try to clinch the Eastern Division championship.”
DeMarco Murray needs 103 yards rushing to crack the 1,000 yard mark for the season.
Romo’s main target is best buddy Jason Witten. Dez Bryant has grabbed 57 balls and scored nine touchdowns. Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin are other options for Romo.
Defensively Dallas needs to pressure Giant quarterback Eli Manning who sliced them up to the tune of 400 yards passing. Linebacker Sean Lee’s 94 tackles leads the team, as does his raw intensity. Defensive end DeMarcus Webb is being counted on to get in Manning’s face.
The Giants knocked off the mouthy Jets 29-14 last weekend. Manning completed only nine passes as the absence of big tight end Jake Ballard was felt. Ballard expects to play against the Cowboys. Manning’s number’s are solid (60 percent of his passes completed for 26 touchdowns) this year even with his recent struggles. Gutsy Ahmad Bradshaw and hard charging Brandon Jacobs have both ran well. Wide receiver Victor Cruz leads the way with 76 catches for eight touchdowns. Speedy Hakeem Nicks has caught 71 balls and scored six times.
The Giants beleaguered defense played well against the Jets, surrendering “only” 331 yards, the fourth-lowest total by an opponent this season. The Jets owned the ball for 36 minutes and averaged a mere 3.7 yards per play. Antrel Rolle leads the defense with 88 tackles. Jason Pierre-Paul had five tackles and two more sacks. Pierre-Paul now has a career high 15.5 sacks.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin delivered a sobering reminder to his players about the Giants’ rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys.
“I did remind our team that a year ago we won down there and lost at home,” Coughlin said.
Bottom line: Let's face it. As much drama as this game holds, the final regular season game, playoff implications for both teams and others and so on, neither of these two teams figures to go very far in the playoffs, whichever team makes it. They just aren't very good when compared to other top playoff teams.
As far as this game Sunday night, Tony Romo is running out of opportunities in his career to make a difference when it counts. No time like the present. Injured hand and all. To do so, he'll have to beat one of the hottest QB's in the NFL this year, at home, Eli Manning.
No clear cut edge here. More of a hunch on our part. We think the Cowboys are the right side here. They are the better team, very slightly, in most major statistical categories, including yards per point where their defense gets the nod. Our NFL model predicts a 25-24 Cowboys win which sounds about right. A whacky back and forth game that lives up to it's billing with Romo adding a feather to his cap after carrying his team down the stretch. Cowboys +3
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