Giants vs. Cowboys: New York Should Be Concerned, but Not About Division Race

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 28, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 28:   Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants celebrates a touchdown by  Henry Hynoski #45 against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For the second consecutive week, the New York Giants survived despite being outplayed by a division rival, nearly losing despite the fact their opponent committed a slew of mistakes. 

Despite, despite, despite. A win's a win, right? And although the Giants only eked this one out by the length of Dez Bryant's fingertips, they've done enough to get victories in each of the last two games and take a 2.5-game lead in the NFC East. 

A friend who supports the G-men called this "the least satisfying win that I can remember," and I see his point. This would have been a game-changer in this division. Had the Cowboys fought through six turnovers and the loss of Sean Lee to beat the Giants and sweep the season series, Dallas would have controlled its own destiny in the NFC East. Now, they're deep in the hole and lacking momentum in a severe way.

Did the Giants get lucky? Sure, but there's that cliché about having to be good to be lucky, and it rings true here. It's easy to see teams collapsing when their luck eventually turns, but the Giants are too experienced and too well-coached to let that happen. 

Like the majority of their fans, the coaching staff and the players aren't likely satisfied with this win, either. That's the key here. They know Eli Manning has to be better than he's been the last two weeks if they're going to win games in January again. They know it was a tremendous error to let Bryant get open in the end zone with the Giants in Hail Mary mode in the final seconds. They know the secondary has to improve wholly, especially with the pass rush stepping it up again.

The silver lining is that the Giants are experiencing pains every team deals with at one point or another. The difference between them and the majority of the NFL's 31 other teams is that they're still winning while struggling on both sides of the ball. And they can now focus on fixing those flaws while knowing that the division is probably theirs regardless. 

It won't get any easier with this schedule, but if this is still a team that peaks late, Giants fans have very little to worry about as we close out October.