Cowboys hoping to become this season's Giants Print
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Friday, 12 December 2008 07:07
NFL Headline News

 IRVING, Texas (AP) -The Dallas Cowboys would love to become this year's New York Giants, the wild-card team turned Super Bowl champion.
``Yeah, we have talked about that. It is definitely possible to still win a Super Bowl from where we are at,'' quarterback Tony Romo said. ``And it is definitely possible not to win a Super Bowl from where the Giants are at.''
The NFC East rivals play Sunday night with their roles reversed from a year ago, when Romo and the Cowboys proved that scenario the hard way.
This time, the Giants (11-2) have already won the division title with three games left, though they are still trying to clinch a first-round playoff bye and the No. 1 seed. And they want to avoid a Cowboys-like collapse down the stretch like the one New York contributed to last season.
playoffs to New York, which was halfway into a four-game postseason road sweep to an unexpected championship.
``I do see where guys can kind of look at the way we went about our season last year and use that as motivation,'' defensive end Justin Tuck said.
``It does not surprise me because the example has been out there and I'm sure used by a lot of the teams in the league that feel like they're in position,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
The Giants will be at Texas Stadium for the final time, their first trip there since that January playoff game provided a bitter ending to Dallas' 13-win season that included two double-digit victories over New York in the regular season.
``I don't have any fond memories of that place, except beating them in the playoffs,'' receiver Amani Toomer said.
New York clinched the NFC East title last week despite a loss to Philadelphia that snapped a seven-game winning streak. That's because the Cowboys lost later that day in Pittsburgh after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Tuck said there was no celebration by the Giants for winning the division, but that he's not too bothered by the loss to the Eagles.
``Because it settles us back and puts us back in that mode we've got to play every game and go win it,'' Tuck said. ``We did get hot at the right time (last year). Hopefully we can do that again.''
n Nov. 2, but that was when the Cowboys were still without Romo and in a miserable slump. That loss dropped Dallas, which went into the season as a decided Super Bowl favorite, to last place in the division.
Dallas then got a much-needed open date and Romo back from that broken pinkie on his throwing hand. The Cowboys followed with three straight victories, and were about to make it four in a row until Pittsburgh scored its only two touchdowns in a late 24-second span, the second on an interception return.
``I know we have the capable talent and ability on this team to play like we did three or so quarters,'' Terrell Owens said this week. ``We've got to learn somehow, some way to finish games. ... (Our defense) put us in position to win a game. As an offense, I take it personally, because we let those guys down.''
As for T.O.'s sideline outburst at receivers coach Ray Sherman after he wasn't the target of Romo's game-sealing fourth-down incompletion, Owens insisted he was venting about the overall frustrations - and not about the last pass being intended for somebody else.
Owens described the team's mood as ``jolly'' and said the Cowboys were confident and looking forward to challenges they face.
While Romo's return has certainly sparked the Cowboys since their 2-4 midseason slump that made them chasers instead of leaders, an improved defense has also had a significant impact.
the Cowboys allowed 200 yards rushing. They have since given up only 268 yards rushing combined to four opponents who have averaged only 272 total yards.
Brandon Jacobs ran for 117 yards against Dallas, but it wasn't clear if he would play this week because of lingering aches in both knees. Of course, the Giants are already without receiver Plaxico Burress, suspended for the rest of the season because of that gun incident.
Dallas wasn't sure about its own bruising halfback, Marion Barber, because of the broken right pinkie toe and calf problem that developed when he altered how he ran because of the toe.
New York can't knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs this week, but can make it more difficult for them to make the playoffs. Dallas' remaining games are against Baltimore and Philadelphia, another division rival and wild-card hopeful.
``For us personally, it's just getting back on the right track, playing Giants football,'' Tuck said. ``It just so happens we're playing Dallas, but I don't think our focus is anything to do with Dallas.''

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