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Cowboys/Giants: Game of the Year?

The Monday night showdown between the Cowboys and Giants is being hyped by many as the defining game that will send the Cowboys shooting towards the playoffs and a possible division title, or put them back into the middle of the pack with little chance of making a playoff run. Here's Mickey Spags take on the game

This game, though, which promises to become the most-watched ESPN game if Chicago at Arizona last Monday night earned that distinction, deals with more than the Cowboys' identity crisis. There are some tangible reasons ballooning this game's importance.

Not only does the winner go to 4-2, meaning the Cowboys would have a two-game winning streak or the Giants would have a three-game winning streak, but of all things, now the winner also takes over the NFC East lead after the Philadelphia Eagles dropped a 23-21 decision Sunday to Tampa Bay when Matt Bryant hit a 62-yard game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining.

Imagine that, after all that hand-wringing following the Cowboys' 38-24 emotional loss in Philly, the Eagles (4-3) now are saddled with a two-game losing streak and the Cowboys, with a win Monday night, would be riding a two-game winning streak and leading the NFC East by a half-game.

Plus, with this NFC East race figuring to finish tiebreaker tight, the Cowboys first must hold serve at home in a division game, and second, can't afford to drop to 1-2 in division games, which would mean the Giants would speed off to 3-0 after the first round and only having to play Washington on the road the second time around.

There's more, too, these two teams embarking off on distinctly different paths of travel afterward: The Giants' next three games are at home while the Cowboys have the dreaded three-game road trip - Carolina, Washington, Arizona - something they have not had to deal with since late in the 1992 season. If they are not careful, they could lose touch with the Giants by time they face the bottom slice of this Manning Brothers sandwich, Indianapolis to come snooping around Texas Stadium on Nov. 19.

Yep, this game is huge, no doubt. I do feel it's one of those games that truly define your season one way or the other. To say it's a big game is surely an understatement. Tim Cowlishaw of DMN feels this game might even define Parcells legacy in Dallas.

  One game. It can mean so much.

A victory and a 4-2 record puts the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East. It puts them in position not to worry so much about a three-game road swing through Carolina, Washington and Arizona. A defeat and a 3-3 record leaves this team wondering how it can survive such a trip only to return home to face a potentially undefeated Indianapolis team. It leaves fans wondering what all the fuss was about in signing Terrell Owens and Mike Vanderjagt in the off-season.

And it causes everyone to continue to question the value of Parcells - at least the Parcells that is removed from the coaching staff that helped him make his case as a Hall of Fame coach.

Parcells and the Cowboys can truly make a statement tonight, in the national spotlight no less. Lets hope it's the right one.

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