Giants defenders watch in awe as Felix turns it loose.
The Giants are the (-3 +105) favorites at home in this final game of the 2011 regular season, with the over/under set at 46½. Of course, the underdogs are 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings between the Giants and Cowboys, so take those odds for what they're worth.
The winner makes the playoffs, the loser doesn't yadda, yadda, yadda. We've been over this all week, so no use repeating what's already been said.
What's left is to check what the Experts - and I'm using this word loosely - predict for Sunday Night. Predictably, most of them favor the Giants in a high-scoring game. Which of course makes it pretty likely that the exact opposite will happen.
The Miami Herald's Greg Cote has the Cowboys edging the Giants: Cowboys 31 - Giants 28.
"AAAWWWK!" sings the soaring Upset Bird with a season-ending flourish. "Grand finale. Grand finaawwk!" This is the Game of the Week - clearly - because it is everything an NFL schedule-maker could dream: a winner-take-all prime time finale to decide the last of 12 playoff berths.
This is the Upset of the Week for reasons admittedly far more arguable. I get the Biggies as a home-field fave but see Dallas just a little better overall, especially on defense. Also hunching that Tony Romo — with a 112.4 passer rating his past six starts vs. NYG — overcomes some doubts about himself in the clutch with a big night despite that bruised right finger. So make it Cows to the playoffs, then, and maybe Tom Coughlin to the unemployment line.
Peter King picks the 34, Cowboys 30, and delivers another failed attempt at humour:
Impossible to pick. Was set to pick Dallas until Wednesday morning, when I just started to think: Who's rushing the passer better than Jason Pierre-Paul right now? Who can cover Victor Cruz? Which quarterback do I trust more in the last five minutes? And so I changed to the G-men. So scientific.
SI.com's "Bet On It" feature predicts there will be at least five touchdown passes thrown Sunday night
The health of Tony Romo’s right hand may dictate how the regular season’s final game — an NFC East winner-takes-all affair between the Cowboys and Giants — will go. One thing seems fairly certain, especially after watching the first game between these two this season: The secondaries will have a hard time keeping up with either team’s aerial attack.
Eric Allen, Mike Golic and Adam Shefter like the Cowboys, as does Accuscore, but the other five ESPN NFL "experts" believe the Giants will win.
Cris Carter is the only one of the four ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown analyst to pick the Cowboys.
Profootballtalk's two lead writers are split 1-1.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 23. The 256th game of the 2011 regular season also will be the first game of the 2011 postseason. Since I picked the Cowboys to win the division way back in September, I can’t abandon them now. Even if logic and common sense points to the Giants finishing their unlikely late-season climb to the postseason.
Rosenthal’s pick: Giants 24, Cowboys 21. The Giants are as dangerous as their pass rush allows. It was great last week, with Justin Tuck finally looking healthy. Osi Umenyiora returns this week. There is no figuring out this Giants team, but I took them to win the NFC East before the year and can’t give up now.
This is a playoff game. Winner is the NFC East champion. Loser goes home. You have to love that. The Giants won at Dallas two weeks ago, rallying from 12 down. The issue in this one is Tony Romo's hand. How effective will he be? The Giants will get after him with their pass rush, which will be the difference. The Giants move on.
Sam Farmer from the LA Times predicts a close Giants win: Giants 28 - Cowboys 27.
Eli Manning has been in a slump the last couple of weeks, but with the season on the line — and an opponent he plays well against — he'll rise to this occasion.
The eight USAToday panelists favor the Giants by 6-2.
Yahoosport's trio of columnists favor the Giants 2-1, and the Yahoo users like the Giants as well.
What If Sport's simulation engine has the Cowboys favored in this matchup:
Plagued by a plethora of problems, how did both franchises find themselves fighting for a playoff position? The aerial assaults for the Cowboys and Giants are two of the more paramount attacks in the NFC. Eli Manning's 305.8 yards per game is good for third in the conference, while Romo's 102.2 QB rating is fourth-best in the league. While the cannons of Romo and Manning have been called erratic, many rosters around the NFL would jump at the prospect of implementing either arm under center.
Of course, it helps to have a talented base of receivers at your disposal. The Cowboys brandish dexterous quartet in Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin, while the Giants boast two 1,000-yard wideouts in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Along with the Packers and Saints, the two NFC East adversaries flaunt two of the more endowed arsenal of targets in football.
So who wins the right to represent the division in January? The Cowboys come out on top 53.5 percent of the time by an average score of 25-23.
Pro Football Focus is 6-2 in favor of the Giants.
Foxsport's writers are evenly split 2-2.
The venerable Wall Street Journal's three writers come down 2-1 in favor of the Giants:
Die-hard Cowboys and Giants fans have died easily a dozen or so times this year at the hands of their heroically unpredictable teams, which was presumably not all that fun for them. But for fans more inclined to appreciate the inherent comedy in a pair of talented football teams that are both prone to abruptly forgetting not merely how to play football, but what a football looks like, these two have been a delight. One of these teams will win the NFC East and lock down a postseason berth. The other will finish 8-8, all of its coaches will be fired, sports-talk radio callers will dial in to drive-time hosts and cry like colicky infants.
So, yeah: this is probably your game of the week, even if there’s a chance that one or both teams will spend some of the game wandering around the field in their bathrobes or something
For the 'Inside The NFL' crew, Warren Sapp and Phil Sims predict a Giants win.
NFL.com's Albert Breer also has the Giants ahead in a close one: Giants 24 - Cowboys 23
I have no idea who's gonna win this game -- just being honest. But I'd bet it comes down to the wire, and I trust the Giants more than the Cowboys in a spot like that.
Here's my prediction: The Cowboys will score early and often, the defense for once will live up to Rob Ryan's predictions and the Cowboys will coast to a 31-20 win.