NFC East Showdown

The Dallas Cowboys' high-scoring offense overpowered the New York Giants in their season opener, and the Cowboys have been atop the NFC East ever since.

Dallas looks to increase its division lead and hand red-hot New York its first loss in nearly two months when the two rivals meet Sunday at Giants Stadium.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Dallas -1 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday's game, the over/under has been set at 49 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -1 (View NFL Football bet percentages).

The Cowboys (7-1) defeated the Giants 45-35 on Sept. 9 in the highest scoring game in the 90-game history of this series.

Tony Romo threw for a career-high 345 yards and a season-high four touchdowns in the win, while Terrell Owens had two TD catches.

"That first game was like a bad dream,'' Giants Pro Bowl middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "If you want to consider that a chip (on the shoulder), that's what we have. The fact is, it did happen, but other things have changed.''

Following its loss to the Cowboys in the season opener, New York (6-2) fell to Green Bay on Sept. 16, but has since reeled off six straight wins.

The Giants gave up 80 points in their first two games, but have allowed 79 points while recording 28 of their league-high 30 sacks during their winning streak.

"Obviously, they've gotten better since Week 1 and so have we,'' Owens said. "I think right now we're starting to really define ourselves and really trying to work offensively, defensively, and special teams-wise, the whole team. So we can kind of solidify ourselves and separate ourselves.''

Behind Romo and Owens, Dallas is second in the NFL in offense (416.4 yards per game) and scoring (33.1 points per game), trailing only undefeated New England in each category. A 48-27 loss to the Patriots on Oct. 14 is the only blemish on the Cowboys' record.

Dallas is coming off a 38-17 victory at Philadelphia last Sunday night, as Owens had season highs of 10 receptions for 174 yards and also scored a touchdown.

Owens has 17 catches for 277 yards and two TDs in his last two games after having just 11 for 124 yards and one touchdown in his previous three.

Romo, in his first game since signing a six-year, $67.5-million contract extension, finished 20-for-25 for 324 yards - his fifth 300-yard game this season - with three touchdowns and an interception against the Eagles

Romo has thrown for 829 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in three career games against the Giants. Owens has 38 receptions for 579 yards and seven touchdowns in seven lifetime games against them.

Defensive lineman Tank Johnson will make his Cowboys debut in this game, his first game since playing for the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. After last season, Johnson spent two months in jail for violating probation on a gun charge and was also pulled over for speeding and tested for driving under the influence, resulting in the Bears cutting him.

The Cowboys have won their first four road games by an average of 15.8 points, and have not opened a season with five straight road wins since 1983.

New York is coming off its bye week, and hasn't played since a 13-10 victory over winless Miami on Oct. 28 in London.

The Giants have six wins at the halfway point of the season for the third straight year, but the players know their record means very little. Last season, they won just two of their final eight games to limp into the playoffs with an 8-8 record.

"It's a great start, but I don't believe anyone on the team is really giddy being 6-2,'' center Shaun O'Hara said. "It's a great start, but we haven't accomplished anything yet.''

The Giants are trying to win seven straight games for the first time since opening the 1990 season with 10 consecutive victories, and are looking to tie the Cowboys atop the NFC East.

"We all know that we had a good run of six games, but this is the real test for us against one of the best teams in the division, in the league,'' Amani Toomer said. "If we want to be considered in that upper echelon in the league, this is a team we are going to have to beat to show that."

Eli Manning had his best game of the season against the Cowboys in the opener, throwing for a season-high 312 yards and matching a career high with four TD passes. Three of them went to Plaxico Burress, who has been bothered by an ankle injury all season.

Manning has passed for 1,282 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in six career games against Dallas. Against Miami, Manning was slowed by a steady rain at Wembley Stadium, and threw for a season-low 59 yards but ran for New York's lone touchdown.

Brandon Jacobs rushed for 131 yards against the Dolphins, the second straight week he's hit a career high. Jacobs had just 26 yards on six carries against Dallas, but has rushed for 424 yards and two TDs on 74 attempts in his last four games since recovering from a knee injury.

The Giants have not been swept in a season series by the Cowboys since 2003.

By: Staff Writers - Email Us

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