Wade Phillips, pressed this week about who will quarterback the Cowboys on Sunday against the Giants in the Meadowlands, finally gave in. It will be, he said, second-stringer Brad Johnson over third-stringer Brooks Bollinger.
That might change either before the game or during it. It also doesn't really matter as long as it's not Tony Romo, out with a broken pinkie on his throwing hand.
The Giants are favored by 8 1/2 points, a pretty big spread considering a lot of people figured Dallas would cruise to the NFC East title, then capture the Super Bowl that New York won last season. But injuries and internal turmoil have left the Cowboys with three losses and a lot of questions.
The Giants, meanwhile, seem to be rolling, their win in Pittsburgh last week answering some questions raised after their weak early schedule.
Ben Roethlisberger.
``We have a lot of guys who have been in these situations before and guys who have played in the league for a long time, and they know how rare Super Bowls are to come by. We are definitely still excited about playing every week.''
Those sacks are one reason the Cowboys might consider replacing the 40-year-old Johnson with the more mobile Bollinger, who has Meadowlands experience: nine of his 10 NFL starts were with the Jets in 2005.
The Giants seem motivated not by the QB but by the fact the opponent is Dallas, the first of eight opponents in their final nine games that currently have winning records.
``I would not think there would be any kind of letdown,'' says Tom Coughlin. ``The fact that we are moving back into the division and that it is the Dallas Cowboys, I would think we will be very excited about the game.''
GIANTS, 23-10
---
New England (plus 6) at Indianapolis
Tom Brady's injury and the Colts' struggles have taken the sheen off this game, which usually is one of the season's highlights.
COLTS, 24-20

Pittsburgh (plus 2) at Washington (Monday night)
Clinton Portis will have a hard time with the Steelers' run defense. And when Portis doesn't run much ...
STEELERS, 17-13

Green Bay (plus 4 1/2) at Tennessee
week for the Titans. Possible letdown after all but clinching the AFC South.
PACKERS, 17-16

New York Jets (plus 5 1/2) at Buffalo
The Jets underachieve even when they win.
BILLS, 24-14

Miami (plus 3) at Denver
Broncos 3-1 at home, Dolphins 1-2 on the road, so ...
BRONCOS, 27-23

Philadelphia (minus 6 1/2) at Seattle
With Brian Westbrook healthy, the Eagles are a very good team.
EAGLES, 28-20

Baltimore (plus 1 1/2) at Cleveland
Which erratic QB is on? Derek Anderson? Joe Flacco? Both? Neither?
RAVENS, 13-9

Houston (plus 4 1/2) at Minnesota
The Texans played four straight home games and won the last three. Overall, they may be more solid than the Vikings.
TEXANS, 24-20

Arizona (minus 3) at St. Louis
The Cardinals are 1-3 on the road. But this isn't entirely a ``road'' game because they used to play in St. Louis.
CARDINALS, 27-21
Atlanta (minus 3) at Oakland
Matt Ryan is more mature in his first season than JaMarcus Russell is in his second.
FALCONS, 19-13

Tampa Bay (minus 8 1/2) at Kansas City
Don't expect another career game from Tyler Thigpen.
BUCS, 27-2

Detroit (plus 13 1/2) at Chicago
ons beat the Bears twice last season.
BEARS, 33-13

Jacksonville (minus 7 1/2) at Cincinnati
The Jaguars have been disappointing. The Bengals are way beyond that label.
JAGUARS, 22-2

LAST WEEK: 5-8-1 (spread); 8-6 (straight up)
SEASON: 58-55-3 (spread); 68-48 (straight up)

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