The Cowboys already have beaten the Giants once this season, and now it’s time to see if Jones’ club can back up his words.
The Giants are well aware of Jones’ boast and are looking for revenge along with a fourth straight victory Sunday in the latest installment of this NFC East rivalry.
Jones told a crowd of Dallas fans at training camp in July that his club would “beat the Giants’ (butts)” when New York (5-2) visited Cowboys Stadium this week. The Giants are 3-0 in the building, with Eli Manning throwing for 1,036 yards and eight touchdowns, including a 400-yard effort in his last visit Dec. 11 - a 37-34 victory.
Safety Antrel Rolle couldn’t resist addressing Jones’ words.
“As far as Jerry Jones’ comment, we really don’t pay that any attention because we all know that he hasn’t put on a helmet and I don’t know if he ever did to be honest with you,” Rolle said.
New York beat Dallas (3-3) twice in the final four weeks last season to capture the East by one game over the Cowboys en route to winning the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl.
Dallas, though, was the superior team in the NFL season opener with a 24-17 road victory Sept. 5. Although the Giants have since surged back into first place, a sweep by the Cowboys would move them back into strong contention for the division crown.
“When you think about NFC East games, the way that they are playing, if you’re not able to get wins early against big teams, it can come back to haunt you,” Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. “So when you have the opportunity to get big wins against NFC East teams, we have to do it.”
Manning has 197 touchdown passes and needs three more to break Phil Simms’ franchise record.
His latest TD pass was a 77-yarder to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left that was the difference in last Sunday’s 27-23 victory over Washington. Manning bounced back after throwing two second-half interceptions.
The Giants were limited to a season-low 269 yards in the first meeting with the Cowboys, who had three sacks - two by Ware. Manning has since been sacked twice in six games.
“When you have the opportunity to play a team again, you want to go out there and have a better performance, since you lost,” Manning said. “We feel that we can play better than we did the first time.”
Dallas’ defense figures to be less effective without leading tackler Sean Lee The starting linebacker was placed on injured reserve Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season because of ligament damage in his right big toe.
“I can’t tell you how well he’s been playing since he’s been our starting inside linebacker,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s a bell cow for us and a guy that really everybody on our defense and football team looks up to.”
Bruce Carter will take over Lee’s spot and the defensive play-calling for the Cowboys, while Dan Connor Lee’s close friend and former Penn State teammate, will slide into Carter’s spot. Connor signed as a free agent after four years at Carolina.
Tony Romo threw for 307 yards and a season-high three scores in the first meeting as he took advantage of a banged-up New York secondary that is healthier now.
Another key was the Cowboys’ 143 rushing yards, with 131 from DeMarco Murray Murray, however, sat out last week’s 19-14 victory at Carolina with a sprained left foot and his status for Sunday is uncertain.
Felix Jones started last week, but he is nursing a knee injury.
Cruz is tied for the league lead with seven touchdown receptions while Hakeem Nicks who has missed three games due to a right foot injury, has scored just once.
Nicks has 271 yards and two touchdowns in two previous visits to Cowboys Stadium. He sounds like he can’t wait to go back and is looking for a better effort than he produced in the opener when Dallas rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne helped limit Nicks to a season-low 38 yards.
“Personally, I like playing in this stadium,” Nicks said. “I just do, I don’t know what it is. It just seems like it’s a big stage to play on.”
The Cowboys’ last sweep of the Giants was in 2007, when New York went on to beat top-seeded Dallas in the playoffs and win its third Super Bowl.