Palladino: For Giants, There’s Big… And Then There’s BIG
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‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
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Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.
Sure, you thought the Green Bay game last week was big.
It was, in a manner of speaking. Anytime you’re on a losing streak and you face an undefeated conference opponent at this time of year, the gravity of the game speaks for itself. And the Giants played up to the magnitude, albeit in a losing effort.
But this week in Dallas? BIG, HUGE, CAN’T LOSE!
Sunday Night Football makes it big to begin with. A chance to draw even with the NFC East-leading Cowboys and get a leg up on the tiebreaker picture. A chance to feel good about themselves after four straight losses.
Huge? Oh, yeah.
“This is exciting,” Eli Manning said. “When you’re getting into December and you’re playing for playoffs and division leads, this is what it’s all about. It’s not something to get nervous about or get anxious. It’s something to look forward to, to be excited, have great energy, great enthusiasm amongst the team.”
True enough. But none of that will make it easier on the Giants fans who venture down to cavernous Cowboys Stadium or watch the proceedings on TV. If they know one thing, it’s that the Giants can’t afford to rely on other teams like Arizona last week to do them any favors. Their fate still remains in their hands for the time being, and winning this one is imperative.
Lose, and the Cowboys will be up by two games, with three to play. And given that the Giants are currently a game off the wild card pace behind Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta, they can’t afford to give any more ground.
So what can fans expect down in the Big D?
A wild one, if history plays out.
Old Texas Stadium was the site of many crazy Giants-Cowboys games. It was just in 2009 that the Giants opened Cowboys Stadium on a Sunday night with a pulsating 33-31 win on Lawrence Tynes’ 37-yard field goal as time expired. Manning went 7-of-9 for 64 yards in that final drive, one of his many fourth-quarter comebacks.
Justin Tuck was also hurt that game when Flozell Adams tripped him on purpose.
And last year’s 41-35 slugfest was another example of the wildness that happens down Cowboys way. They committed five turnovers — proving the victory a miracle in itself — and came back to score 31 unanswered points after falling behind 20-7.
That doesn’t even account for some of the craziness that happened at old Texas Stadium, much of which ended in a New York loss. The Giants’ old nose tackle, Erik Howard, once posited that the joint was vexed.
Yet, there were some good times there, too. Like the comeback win against the 2007 playoff’s No. 1 seed. Remember that? Amani Toomer’s two touchdown catches. R.W. McQuarters’ end zone interception off Romo that sent them to the NFC champioship game in Green Bay with nine seconds to go.
The Cowboys’ new home has been kind to the Giants so far. Two games, two wins.
But they sorely need to make it three out of three Sunday night. If they don’t, they could lose more than a game.
They could lose their season.
Will the Giants come up huge in the Big D? Make your prediction in the comments below…