Breaking Down the Giants vs. Cowboys Rivalry During the Eli Manning Era

Lou RomContributor IOctober 25, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants  in action during their game against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

When Eli Manning and the New York Giants renew their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday they will do so with history on their side.

At least recent history.

Manning is 5-2 against the Cowboys dating back to 2009, including a perfect 3-0 record at Cowboys Stadium.

Overall, Manning is a modest 9-7 against the Cowboys, but he has beaten them when it mattered the most in recent years and put together some of his most memorable, clutch performances against Dallas.

Manning's first taste of NFL victory came at the Cowboys' expense.

After losing his first six games as a starter, Manning earned his first career win against Dallas on the last day of the 2004 season.

It would come as no surprise today, for those who weren't paying attention back then, that Manning's first victory was of the come-from-behind genre. New York trailed Dallas 16–7 in the fourth quarter before Manning threw two touchdowns to lead Big Blue to a 28–24 victory over their arch-rival.

In the 2007 opener, Manning shined against Dallas, throwing for 312 yards and four touchdowns before leaving the game with a separated shoulder. The Cowboys took that game and swept the season series for the first time in Manning's New York career.

Manning earned sweet revenge in the playoffs, eliminating the No. 1 seed Cowboys in the divisional round.

Manning and the Giants scored the go-ahead touchdown a few minutes into the fourth quarter and never trailed again. Manning was efficient, if not spectacular, completing 66 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

In 2009, the legend of Eli the Kid grew leaps and bounds in Big D when Manning wrecked the so-called "September Super Bowl" at the new Cowboys Stadium, winning a shootout against Tony Romo, 33-31.

Former President George W. Bush and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were among the 105,121 that witnessed a seesaw battle that ended with a Lawrence Tynes winning field goal. Manning went 25-of-38 for 330 yards and two touchdowns.

Manning is now 3-0 at the new stadium, throwing for 1,036 yards with eight touchdowns.

Fast forward to 2011. Manning and the Giants faced a must-win against Dallas on the final Sunday of the season. Win and you're division champs, lose and you're out.

Nothing new for Eli the Kid. He simply went out and threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, giving the Giants a 21-0 halftime lead, which they held onto for a 31-14 win.

After his inaugural victory at Cowboys Stadium in 2009, Manning scrawled his signature on a wall in the visitor's locker room.

The signature has long been removed, but Manning's dominance in Big D has not been forgotten.

Giants and Cowboys fans alike are looking forward to the next chapter in this saga, but for entirely different reasons.

Lou Rom, a veteran journalist with more than 17 years experience, covers the NFL, his hometown New York Giants and whatever else gets under his skin for Bleacher Report.