The time is drawing near, the Cowboys season is on the line this Sunday at MetLife Stadium when they battle the Giants for the NFC East title and a trip to the playoffs. I'm sure we all wish it didn't come down to this, that the Cowboys had already clinched a post-season spot, but here it is anyway. We know what's going with the Cowboys, but what about the Giants? I decided to tour some New York-flavored sites to see how they're preparing for the big game.
Remember the blown coverages by the Giants in the last game against the Cowboys? Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson getting free for big scores? Well, the Giants remember that too, and in their last game against the Jets they decided to simplify their defensive game plan and coverages. Safety Deon Grant explains:
"(Perry Fewell) went back to the old ways. He solidified: ‘Regardless of they give us A, B, C or D, this is what we’re doing,’ " safety Deon Grant said on Monday. "Before, trying to protect certain people or whatever the case may be, we had a different call for A, a different call for B and so on.
"Guys mentally were faster with it (against the Jets). That’s the way it was last year and in the beginning of the season this year."
We'll see if Jason Garrett and Tony Romo can exploit this plan in a way Mark Sanchez and company could not.
Via Big Blue View, we hear of Eli Manning's struggles over the last two games. Even though the Giants beat the Jets, Eli's numbers were underwhelming. They reference a New York Times article which has a lot more detail about Manning's poor games over the last couple of weeks. They compare and contrast Manning and Tony Romo:
Still, a hiccup from the offense was not what the Giants wanted heading into such a meaningful regular-season finale. The quarterback matchup is always crucial, and Romo, who threw four touchdown passes against the Giants on Dec. 11, is expected to play despite hitting his throwing hand on a helmet in the Cowboys’ loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Romo has a history of playing through pain — he played part of this season wearing a Kevlar vest after sustaining a punctured lung and fractured rib — and for all the criticism he takes from Cowboys fans, his performance this season has been impressive.
In 15 games, Romo has completed 65.4 percent of his passes, thrown for 3,895 yards and totaled 29 touchdown passes, with only 9 interceptions. His 102.2 quarterback rating is fourth highest in the N.F.L. — about 12 points better than Manning’s.
Of course, Manning’s showings the past two weeks have dragged down his season average. In a loss to the Washington Redskins, Manning did not throw a touchdown pass and was intercepted three times. Against the Jets, it was his 33.3 completion percentage that hurt most.
The New York Daily News has a 7-point plan for beating Dallas. Nothing earth-shaking in the article but nice to see that they recognize DeMarcus Ware instead of Jason Pierre-Paul as the most dangerous player on the field.
One thing I wish was different about this game is that it would be played at home in JerryWorld instead of on the road. But, as it turns out, the Giants have not been very good at home.
They are just 3-4 in front of their home fans, including three absolute stinkers against the Redskins, Eagles and Seahawks.
Even in big games at home with a lot to play for, they have a tendency to fall flat on their face.
...with the exception of 2008 when they were 7-1 at old Giants Stadium, Tom Coughlin’s teams have been mediocre (33-30) in the Meadowlands. They’ve looked even worse this year.
That's nice to hear.
Big Blue View has three scenarios for the outcome of the game. Their most-likely scenario?
3. The Nail-Biter Scenario -- For me, this is the most likely. This one comes down to the final few minutes, and could very well come down to a decisive play (good or bad) by Giants quarterback Eli Manning or Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. This is also the "there will be lots of bridge-jumping during the game in the BBV Game Thread followed by a) mocking of the Cowboys or b) calls for Tom Coughlin's firing" scenario.
And finally, Justin Tuck still hates the Cowboys. Yeah, we still hate you, too, Justin.