On Sunday night, the New York Giants will take on the Dallas Cowboys in a winner-takes-all match up. The stakes are simple: the winning team wins the NFC East and becomes the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, the losing team will be home watching the playoffs. Here are some notes on the game, including key match ups, fantasy difference maker, my prediction and what happens next for the Giants, should they win.
As many people have noted, the Giants' secondary was shredded in the teams' first meeting. Dez Bryant nearly put the Giants away with a 50-yard touchdown pass and Laurent Robinson had a great game as well. The Giants secondary needs to do a better job limiting big plays by Dallas.
Another match up to watch is Tony Romo versus nature. Tony Romo says he is good to go against the Giants, but is he 100 percent? We will figure out quickly whether Romo’s bruised hand will be a factor in the game.
Fantasy Difference Maker:
Between Romo’s hand injury and a motivated Giants secondary, I don’t think the Cowboys will match the success that they had in converting big passing plays down the field. The Cowboys’ receivers should still have good games, but TE Jason Witten should have a monster game. If Romo struggles even a little with the long ball, he will look for Witten early and often and the veteran will deliver.
Another difference maker could be Hakeem Nicks. With the Cowboys’ secondary presumably putting emphasis on stopping Victor Cruz, Nicks should be able to step up and score a touchdown and/or get a significant amount of receiving yards.
This should be a close game with a lot of offense. But in the end, Eli Manning’s late game heroics will be present again. I like the Giants 34-28 in this one.
Whoever wins will either play Atlanta or Detroit at home. For the Giants, I like how they match up to both Atlanta and Detroit and both will probably produce close games.
The one thing that scares me about both teams is that they each have a lethal receiver (Roddy White and Calvin Johnson) and the Giants’ secondary has experienced struggles all season. If the Giants can come close to containing Megatron, they should be able to win against Detroit.
Detroit is not playoff tested (even Jason Hanson has never won a playoff game! He’s been on the team for 20 years!). As long as Calvin does not explode for a career day, the Giants should be able to win.
Atlanta will be a bit tougher. The Falcons are more multidimensional than the Lions. In addition to the Falcons’ receivers, Michael Tunrer is excellent as both a running back and a receiver. However, as good as the Falcons are, QB Matt Ryan has struggled in the playoffs.
If Atlanta ends up playing New York, they will be playing one of the hottest teams in the NFL who have won two straight do-or-die games, with an incredible postseason QB playing in front of his home crowd. I like New York against the Falcons as well.