Cowboys Have NFC East All But Wrapped Up
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--The Dallas Cowboys all but wrapped up the NFC East title here Sunday.
Their 31-20 triumph over the New York Giants at Giants Stadium improved their record to 8-1 and put them two games ahead of the second-place New York Giants, who had their six-game winning streak ended and dropped to 6-3. But it also was the Cowboys' second victory this season over the Giants, meaning that they essentially have a three-game lead in the division because they hold the tiebreaker advantage if the two finish tied.
"It does put us up on the Giants," Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips said. "That was our goal coming in. The season isn't over. It's only nine games. They've won six in a row before. But it was a good win for us."
Only a complete collapse now would keep the Cowboys from winning the division, and it doesn't appear that's about to happen. Quarterback Tony Romo was steady against the Giants with no huge gaffes and four touchdown passes, two of them to wide receiver Terrell Owens. The defense shut down Giants wideout Plaxico Burress and sacked quarterback Eli Manning five times. Safety Roy Williams struggled, as always, in pass coverage, as Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey had a dozen catches. But the Cowboys just kept on keeping on, and their only loss this season has come to the mighty New England Patriots. They even were more competitive in that game that the 21-point final margin indicated, actually holding a second-half lead.
The Cowboys seem to be the NFC's best and most versatile team. They have a huge Thursday night game at home on Nov. 29 against the Green Bay Packers in which the winner could have the best shot to secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. But as the Giants found out Sunday, it might not matter because the Cowboys are fully capable of going on the road and beating a good team.
Just don't start comparing these Cowboys to the Cowboys of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. First-year offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, formerly Aikman's backup, put a quick stop to that in the locker room Sunday evening.
"I'm not a big comparison guy," Garrett said. "Those teams are really special. They won three Super Bowls. That might be as good a team as was ever assembled. But we're really happy to be coaching these guys. The guys we have on this team, they come in every week and want to get better. They want to play together. They want to compete and get better. It's fun to be around."
By Mark Maske |
November 12, 2007; 9:41 AM ET
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Posted by: Ms. Cowgirl | November 12, 2007 12:54 PM
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