This Sunday’s biggest NFL game is undoubtedly Sunday night’s NFC East showdown between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys; winner takes all, while the loser packs up their bags and heads home. In general, the more time I spend thinking about the NFC East the more flustered I become; it’s hard to me to imagine a conference filled with Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys fans.
Talk about obnoxious, practically the whole state of New Jersey routes for one of these teams (I got $20 on The Situation being a Cowboys fan). This in mind, I think it’s fair to call this division the armpit of the NFL. So shake off that New Year’s Eve hangover, and prepare for this year’s edition of the NFC East’s Battle for Mediocrity.
We all know I’ll be rooting for Dallas, so I won’t take my usual 3+ paragraphs to bash on the Giants and Eli Manning. After polling my strategic Giants advisors, the general sentiment seems to be that Giants fans are nervous, because they don’t know which Giants team will show up on any given day. If they show up to play, they should have no problem taking care of Dallas. But like a filet-o’fish sandwich, once the game starts to go down you’re never sure what you’re going to get. In general, I agree with this sentiment.
To make a case for the Cowboys, I was mildly shocked to see how good Tony Romo has been this year. For all the praise given to Eli, Romo is having a far better season statistically.
Tony Romo: 3,895 yards, 29 TDs, 13 turnovers, 102.2 rating.
Eli Manning: 4,587 yards, 26 TDs, 22 turnovers, 90.3 rating.
Any season where a quarterback has a 100+ rating is truly a great season of quarterbacking. I for one think that Tony Romo’s hand will be just fine, but unfortunately I don’t think this game will come down to QB play.
The Giants will win this game because they’ll be able to control the clock, and because their defensive line, long their strength, will be able to put some pressure on Tony Romo. On the clock control front, the Giants have been running the ball well and are healthy. They’ve only lost one game where they rushed for 100+ yards (to the Packers), and I think a heavy dose of the run game will keep Eli’s opportunities to turn the ball over to a minimum. If they do manage to get the running game going, that will make things so much easier for Eli and will let him rack up some passing yardage (as he’s done effectively this year). On the defensive end of the ball Justin Tuck is healthy once again, and the Giants pass rush needs to fuel their defensive attack. When the pass rush is on and Eli is able to limit his mistakes, the Giants tend to win.
I’m taking the Giants in this one, with a final score of 28 – 23. But for the record, I think if the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles played a round robin tournament, they’d all choke up an equal number of games to one another. So goes the NFC East.