The only time the Dallas Cowboys had a chance to beat a team three times in one season, they lost.
To the Arizona Cardinals, of all teams.
They get another chance to do it next Sunday against the New York Giants, who set up their third meeting of the season by beating Tampa Bay 24-14.
``We're looking forward to going down there. We play well there,'' wide receiver Amani Toomer said after the Giants' win in Tampa Sunday. ``We know them, they know us. We even know each others' backups.''
Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, teams have played three games in the same season 53 times, but only 17 of those included teams that won both regular-season matchups, according to STATS Inc. In 11 of those 17 games, the team that won the first two games also won the third, the last time by St. Louis over Seattle in 2004
Dallas' loss to the Cardinals was in 1998 after the Cowboys won the first time. That was at Texas Stadium.
But that shouldn't bother the Giants, who won their eighth straight road game in Tampa on Sunday.
In fact, the last time the Giants lost on the road was opening night in Dallas, when the Cowboys beat them 45-35 in a game in which New York had a shot until the end. That was before the Giants' defense came together - it gave up 35 points to Green Bay the next week before turning around, leading the NFL in sacks and carrying the team in those games in which Eli Manning played badly.
Dallas also won 31-20 at Giants Stadium in a game in which the Giants stayed with the Cowboys for a half.
If Terrell Owens' ankle allows him to play at close to his normal speed, Dallas will have a pretty good edge. Tony Romo's mobility has given the Giants' aggressive defense fits - he threw a touchdown pass sidearmed after scrambling to the line of scrimmage at the Meadowlands.
But Manning plays pretty well against the Cowboys. He threw for 312 yards and four TDs in that opening game and won there a year ago.
The Giants also are playing as well now as they have all year, scaring unbeaten New England in the last regular-season game before dominating the Bucs.
The Cowboys don't have that momentum.
But they have the rest.
They can only hope that the time off gave T.O.'s ankle time enough to heal.

Seattle (11-6) at Green Bay (13-3)
The Seahawks were 20th in the NFL in rushing during the regular season and ran for just 77 yards in beating Washington on Saturday, not a formula for victory in the Wisconsin winter.
On the other hand, the Packers also are a passing team: more dependent on Brett Favre's arm than their running game. Still, Ryan Grant, obtained in a trade with the Giants just before the start of the season, was a pleasant surprise, rushing for 956 yards and a 5.1 yard-per-carry average.
There are plenty of ties between the teams, most notably with Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, who took the Packers to Super Bowls after the 1996 and `97 seasons and winning the first. He has a street, Holmgren Way, named after him in Green Bay although Lombardi Ave., named after the Packers' most successful coaches, is the main drag.
Both have quick defenses that will pressure the quarterbacks - DE Patrick Kerney was dominating for the Seahawks in Saturday's game and might force Favre into turnovers. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle's QB, was drafted by Holmgren with the Packers and obtained by him after he went to the Seahawks.
Hasselbeck is remembered for his call on the coin toss in a 2004 wild-card game in Green Bay, when he proclaimed: ``We want the ball and we're going to score!'' after the Seahawks won the coin flip
Then he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown
It may not get to OT next week if Seattle can't run. But other than Favre, most of the Seahawks have more playoff experience than the young Packers.

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