The Giants enter Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium winners of their last four after starting the season with six losses. The Cowboys, despite their bye last Sunday, come in limping. They're 5-5 but have dropped a half game behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East
If the Giants win Sunday, they keep their playoff hopes alive. A loss effectively ends their season.
As big of a game as this is, it will come down to one thing: Eli Manning vs. Tony Romo. And as good as Romo is -- and despite what Giants fans may think, he's a very good quarterback -- Manning is better.
With that said, here are three reasons Manning will beat Romo on Sunday:
The Cowboys' Defense: The Cowboys might be a game and a half ahead of New York, but you wouldn't know it by the way their defense has been playing. In Dallas' loss two weeks ago at New Orleans, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns. The Saints had 625 total yards. In the Giants' Week 1 loss to the Cowboys, Manning threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns. The Giants had 478 total yards. Dallas' defense is there for the taking. Expect Manning to take advantage.
Eli the Leader: The Giants have to like what's being said in the locker room about their franchise quarterback. Despite what some may think, Eli Manning is an undisputed leader on and off the field. And he's doing it at a time when his team needs him the most.
"He was just more vocal," the New York Times reports tight end Brandon Myers saying this week about Manning's approach to last Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers (the Giants won, 27-13). "He's holding everybody accountable. We've been playing for a while now, and we should be in the right places -- and when we're not, he lets us know about it. And when guys see him a little fired up, it holds everyone to a higher standard. Which is a good thing. He's our guy."
On Sunday, going up against an opposing quarterback who's always capable of putting up big numbers, Manning's leadership could be the difference.
The Giants are Desperate: Yes, I know, the Cowboys need this game, too. But New York's season is on the line. If they lose and drop to 4-7, they'll just be playing out the stretch. If the Cowboys lose and drop to 5-6, they'll still only be one game behind the Eagles, who they beat in Week 7 and a team they'll end the season playing at home in Week 17.
Over the years, the Giants have played some of their best football when their backs have been to the wall. The Cowboys haven't. For both teams, that starts with the quarterback. Manning has proven he can step up his game when the stakes are highest. Romo is still trying to quiet his critics who question whether he can get it done in the big spot. In a big game, Manning gives the Giants an edge.
Charles Costello has followed the Giants for 30 years. He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the team during the 1997 season. He writes about the Giants and New York Yankees for the Yahoo Contributor Network.
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- New York Giants
- Eli Manning
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- Tony Romo