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View Full Version : NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2011 M - 3:30 P.M.



RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 09:02 AM
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</font></u><u><font color="#ff0000" size="4">THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER</font><font color="#ff0000" size="4">. </font></u><font size="4">

</font><font size="4"><font size="6">THE PLAYOFFS HAVE BEGUN!

</font></font><font size="4"><u>NEWARK STAR LEDGER</u></font>

GIANTS LOOK TO MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY AND INTENSITY AGAINST DALLAS COWBOYS WITH NFC TITLE ON THE LINE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_look_to_maintain_consis.html)

Excerpt: "Those who have watched the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)
this season and wondered how the intensity level can be up-and-down, why they
play down to their opponents and why they seem to take matchups for granted,
should know that’s precisely what the players are saying behind closed
doors.


And they can’t figure it out, either.</p>


“There have been times we played teams we knew we were better than and we
just came out and didn’t show it,” linebacker Michael Boley said Monday, as the
players returned to work following Saturday’s victory over the Jets. “Somebody
talked in our meeting room and said, ‘If we know we’re better than them, let’s
come out and treat them as we’re better than them. Don’t play down to their
level. Let’s set a bar for what we want to do and come out and do that.’?”</p>


It would seem no such talk would be necessary this coming Sunday in the
battle for the NFC East.</p>


“Everyone knows what’s at stake. <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_will_face_cowboys_in_re.html">Dallas
Cowboys, New York Giants at MetLife Stadium</a>,” Justin Tuck said. “It’s going
to be a fun game, ‘Sunday Night Football,’ everybody will be watching.”</p>


Tuck threw in everything except Brent Musburger’s, “You’re looking live ...”
to hype the scene for this one. </p>


It’s as big a non-playoff game as one can imagine, and the players claim
they’ll be ready. But this is the same group that failed to respond to getting
“punched in the mouth by the Eagles” and admittedly sleep-walked through a week
of preparation leading up to the loss to the Redskins.</p>


Tuck, Boley and others have been fooled before by a team that’s failed to
maintain its intensity level. </p>


In fact, the Giants actually have a better record in games as underdogs (4-3)
than when they’re favored (4-4). They’ve lost their last two games as favorites
and haven’t won while in that role since beating the Dolphins on Oct. 30.</p>


They say they’re fueled by the doubters. Unfortunately for them, that won’t
be the case this week. They’re favored by a field goal. They’re also 3-4 at
home, which doesn’t even make sense to <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_tom_coughlin_moving_slo.html">coach
Tom Coughlin</a>, who was asked if he’s worried about his guys coming out flat
on Sunday.</p>


“I don’t know why you would,” Coughlin said. “It makes no sense to me.”</p>


Right, but it also made no sense why they played without passion against
Philly and Washington.</p>


“You have outstanding people coming to play against you,” Coughlin said in
reference to the Cowboys. “You should be able to turn everything to your
advantage. It should be more inspirational and motivational approaches.”</p>


That was the approach last week leading up to the game against the Jets. To
their credit, the Giants responded to all of the yapping and to the importance
of the game.</p>


“Whether <a href="http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2011/12/rex_ryan_doesnt_regret_outspok.html">Rex
(Ryan) was talking smack</a> or wasn’t, we were going in there with the same
mind-set, which was going in and <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants-jets_game_review_emotio.html">putting
a beating on the Jets</a>,” safety Antrel Rolle said. </p>


“No matter how it happened, just make sure we win that game. ... We don’t
need anyone to talk smack for us to get up and play ball.” Read more...
</p>GIANTS-JETS GAME REVIEW: EMOTIONS RUN HIGH IN GIANTS' VICTORY (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants-jets_game_review_emotio.html)

"Have you ever seen a season in which there have been so many replays in the
gray area as this one for the Giants?


It used to be the red challenge flag would be tossed, a few angles would be
shown and everyone with at least a loose grasp of the rules would know what was
coming. The only people on edge would be those in the stadium who didn’t get an
angle.</p>


Not this year. Between Jeremy Kerley’s elbow being ruled on
the turf instead of on top of Antrel Rolle’s cleat, the “tuck
rule” reversal of Mark Sanchez’s first fumble, the reversal of
the second one because his arm was ruled to have come forward before
Linval Joseph contacted the ball and what possibly could've
been a fumble on Santonio Holmes that wasn't reviewable, it was
a microcosm of this season for the Giants.</p>


"Not in my time," Tom Coughlin said today when asked if he's
seen a season like this. "I can't tell you how many of these things are
inconclusive. It's incredible. Really. And I guess someone else would argue from
the other side, 'What do you mean it's inconclusive? The information is there
for us and we make the call.'</p>


"But to me, standing on the field, getting information from above, 'Is it or
isn't it? I can't see it all.'"</p>


Yeah, I know it feels to many of you every replay challenge has gone against
them (<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_tom_coughlin_believes_j.html">Jake
Ballard supposedly being out of bounds</a>, Greg Jennings’ not having his
touchdown taken away by the Calvin Johnson rule and a few others I’m surely
forgetting), but that’s not the point I’m making.</p>


I guess what I’m trying to say is why has it been so close this season? Why
haven’t the replays been so clear cut? I posed that question on Twitter during
Saturday’s game and somebody asked if my belief was it’s a result of sloppy
play. No, I don’t think so. Maybe the game is getting faster and therefore the
margin of error is smaller? That’s all I have for you on that one.</p>


I do know there’s some gray area in the rules, though, and wouldn’t be
surprised at all if these things are addressed in the offseason, considering a
key member of the competition committee is Giants president and CEO John
Mara.
</p>* * * *


GAME BALLS</p>


Coughlin. The guy is 65. Sixty-five. Yet, he took
<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_tom_coughlin_moving_slo.html">a
shot like that to the knee</a>, stayed upright, went back to the sideline and
hasn’t complained a bit about it.</p>


WR Victor Cruz. Leaping over guys, eluding tacklers, running
away from players ... I'll ask one more time: how in the heck does this guy go
undrafted? How does all of that athletic ability go practically unnoticed by 32
teams? </p>


Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Somewhat lost in the
shuffle in all of the talk about his <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/ny_giants_silence_ny_jets_29-1.html">“simple”
game plan</a> was what that strategy says about Sanchez and the Jets' passing
game. To me, it’s an indication the Giants aren’t that impressed with either.
I’ve said before the way you beat the Giants’ defense is with multiple vertical
threats. The Jets don’t have that and rely upon far too many two-receiver routes
that don’t force defenders in zones to make tough choices. Plus, Sanchez makes
enough questionable decisions that you don’t often have to force the issue. To
me, and again this is me making an educated guess here, Fewell understands all
of the above and wanted to make sure his players were comfortable more so than
trying too hard to make Sanchez uncomfortable. If so, I love his line of
thinking and thought the game plan was perfect.
</p>DE Justin Tuck. He wasn’t about to say it was Antrel Rolle
who sparked him by saying <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_loss_to_washington_reds.html">players
need to practice</a>. Whoever it was got through. Tuck was motivated, eager to
play and was back to his old hustling self. He had a sack and two batted balls
at the line while also factoring into a few plays by generating pressure. He
drew a holding penalty, got Sanchez to move his feet on DE Dave Tollefson’s key
sack and got Sanchez to move again on the biggest play of the game – DT Chris
Canty’s sack for a safety.


Canty. It was clear from his answers after the game he felt
he had the advantage when matched up 1-on-1 with Jets LG Matt Slauson. He
certainly did when it mattered on the safety.</p>


S Deon Grant. You could see him peek back to Jets TE Dustin
Keller on a pass he broke up and probably could’ve picked off on the first play
of the second half. He had excellent awareness in zones on Saturday. The only
negative for him was a 27-yard pass-interference penalty in the fourth quarter
when he didn’t have to grab Keller at all.</p>


DE Jason Pierre-Paul. That’s why,<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants-jets_game_preview_a_loo.html">
as I said on Friday</a>, you don’t move him from the spot he’s done the most
damage, regardless of the matchup. When he locks his arms out, there’s no such
thing as a franchise left tackle on the other end.</p>


CBs Corey Webster and Aaron Ross. Had we
guessed ahead of time which would be on Plaxico Burress and which would cover
Santonio Holmes, we all would’ve been wrong. Webster was on the smaller, quicker
Holmes and Ross was on the bigger Burress. Both did very, very well.</p>


Pierre-Paul, Webster and
Rolle. These were the guys Coughlin said played 100 snaps. And they
were effective until the end. That’s incredible, especially since Fewell was
hoping to <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/10/jason_pierre-paul_takes_no_iss.html">limit
Pierre-Paul to 40, 45 per game</a>.</p>


RB Ahmad Bradshaw. As I tweeted during the game, I haven’t
seen a Giants running back make somebody road kill the way he ran over Jets S
Brodney Pool since Brandon Jacobs plowed the Redskins’ LaRon Landry in 2008.</p>


Jacobs. His fire and passion is back to being a good thing.
That’s what winning does.</p>

LB Jacquian Williams. His stop on Jets RB LaDainian
Tomlinson 1 yard short of the stick in the second quarter was a play long
forgotten by game’s end but one that should be recalled and highlighted a few
times now. The Jets were trying to run him on a quick underneath two receivers,
which was a great call against man coverage, especially since Williams was the
guy in coverage because he’s been struggling at times this year. On this play,
he did an outstanding job of working through traffic to get to Tomlinson and
make the hit without allowing any more forward movement. It was a great play by
a guy who’s made mistakes but hasn’t given up trying to be aggressive. “As a
nickel linebacker, that’s my job. That’s me understanding whatever it takes to
not let you get any plays on my time,” said Williams, who also made a stop a
yard short of a first down to force a punt in the first quarter. “That’s all
that was. That’s just something I have to understand. It’s one of those things
you have to learn.” Williams also had a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter
and was even used out wide to help jam Burress. Great game for him.</p>


RT Kareem McKenzie. Yeah, he gave up a sack. But if you get
a chance to see the game again, watch him closely on the 17-yard run by D.J.
Ware (the one on which Ware took out Coughlin) and see the hole he creates by
plowing Jets LB Calvin Pace. (Also take a look at WR Hakeem Nicks blocking CB
Antonio Cromartie downfield there.) McKenzie, who moved Jets S Eric Smith out of
the hole on Bradshaw’s second TD run, hasn’t had the best of seasons but he was
excellent on Saturday.</p>


RG Chris Snee and LT David Diehl. Two other
guys who had very good games up front. Snee had a nice block on DE Mike DeVito
on Bradshaw’s second touchdown.</p>


S Kenny Phillips. He's really played well the last few
weeks.</p>


Jets CB Darrelle Revis. I know some of you thought he
should’ve been called for pass interference on his the ball he broke up for WR
Hakeem Nicks in the end zone on a quick slant in the second quarter. I strongly
disagree. That’s just tremendous coverage, anticipation and awareness by one of
the great ones. QB Eli Manning looked right before the snap and saw what he
believed was Revis in press coverage. That means, as long as Nicks can get some
forward momentum, he has the advantage on a quick slant. But what did Revis do
as Manning was checking to the slant? He backed up a few steps. When Nicks got
into his route, Revis was able to work toward him and get his hands in there.
That and many other instances on Saturday show why he’s more than just
“decent.”</p>


Jets DL Muhammad Wilkerson. Very impressive rookie.</p>


Jets DL Sione Pouha. Tough dude right there.</p>


Star-Ledger photographers Andrew Mills and William
Perlman. As you've seen on the site in recent days, these guys got
great action shots. They also gathered information and quotes from field level
to make my job that much easier.</p>


* * * *</p>


GASSERS</p>


Nicks. The drops are baffling. But again, I'd say don't
sweat it.</p>


OT Tony Ugoh. He got blown back a few times as the jumbo
tight end to result in runs for a loss of yardage.</p>


Jets TE Dustin Keller. I had him down for three drops. The
one that doinked off the side of his head when he didn't turn for the ball had
to be the worst.</p>


Jets OGs Brandon Moore and RT Wayne Hunter,
LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, C Nick Mangold and
Slauson. Sacks, pressures, penalties, botched snaps and missed
blocks for these guys.</p>


Jets LB Aaron Maybin. Hitting Ware out of bounds gave the
Giants 15 yards, which allowed P Steve Weatherford to get that much closer for a
punt to the 8-yard line. Next play: the game-changing safety.</p>


* * * *</p>


UNDER-THE-RADAR PLAY(ERS)</p>


Let’s change it up a bit this week to talk about a few guys who helped on a
play that wasn’t by any stretch under the radar.</p>


Cruz did most of the work on his 99-yard TD. But don’t discount the work of
Snee and McKenzie, who gave Manning plenty of time and room to deliver that
ball. The Jets tried bringing pressure over Snee but it never came close to
getting home. In fact, Bradshaw didn’t even have to touch anybody in pass
protection to that right side.</p>


Jets DL Marcus Dixon tried a spin to the outside and
McKenzie just rode him further away from the pocket. Meanwhile, Snee ate up LB
David Harris on the blitz.</p>


Side note: I can’t wait until the coaches’ tape becomes available so I can
see how Bradshaw was the first to get to Cruz in the end zone. Did you notice
that? He was only about 10 yards behind Cruz when he crossed the goal line. As I
mentioned, he was in the backfield helping to protect, so he must’ve been
bustin’ it the whole way. That’s impressive effort.</p>


* * * *</p>


SECOND GUESSES</p>


Two days later, I still can’t believe they overturned the call on the Kerley
fumble. They didn’t have enough evidence to overturn it based on everything we
all saw. Was his elbow down? Maybe. But we don’t know that for sure. Like
Mike Pereira said, stick with the call on the field.</p>


As for the near-fumble by Holmes, that looked like a catch to me. Perhaps it
could've been overturned on replay, though that would've only been possible if
it was ruled a catch on the field, which it wasn't.</p>


The biggest head-scratching offensive call by the Giants was, obviously, the
pass that was picked one play after the Jets fumbled at the 1-yard line with
8:43 to play in the game and the Giants leading by 13. How in the world they
threw there I’ll never know. From the way Manning was under center and then
backed into the shotgun, it was clear he’s the one that changed the play.
However, after gaining 9 yards on a run in the third quarter, the Giants came
out in four wides on third-and-1, which was a call that came from the sideline.
They tried to hit Cruz on the deep wheel route instead of pounding it or running
a shorter route. Now, the one thing I’ll say about that play is they knew they
had something there and that the only reason it didn’t work is Cruz broke off
the route. Two series later, they went back to it on second-and-7, got the same
matchup of Cruz vs. Wilson and hit it for 36 yards to help set up Bradshaw’s
first touchdown.</p>


At first glance, I didn’t understand why the Jets got away from the run so
much after their first drive. In re-watching the game, though, it was clear they
had a decent mix going. Before running the 2-minute drill in the second quarter,
they had 19 designed passes to 12 runs. That’s not their usual way of doing
things, but they were moving the ball well enough that I wouldn’t question the
play calling.</p>


Where they started to lose me was on the three-and-out (three straight
passes) to start the second half. They came back on the next drive to run on
three straight plays for a total of 17 yards but then threw on second-and-6,
which resulted in a 6-yard sack by Tuck. On their next drive, they opened with
runs of 7 and 6 yards but a false-start penalty on Burress and a holding penalty
on Hunter helped put them in passing situations. But then, they picked up 13 on
a toss play to start the next drive and then threw three straight times (the
first of which might’ve been an audible from a run) before punting.</p>


From the files of rules everyone should know by now, LB Chase
Blackburn actually made a smart play by going after the ball on the
punt after Jets CB Ellis Lankster “illegally” touched it at the
1-yard line. He can advance it if he picks it up and begins to return it. Even
if he fumbles, the Giants have the option of taking the ball where it was first
touched. In other words, there’s no downside to going after the ball. Smart play
by Blackburn and terrible analysis by Daryl Johnston on Fox,
who said “there should not be any discussion” about why a Giants player was
around the ball.</p>


* * * *</p>


ODDS AND (TIGHT) ENDS</p>


Many were questioning me when I blogged <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_appear_to_be_focused_in.html">the
Giants appeared energetic and focused in practice</a> on Wednesday. Coughlin and
the players were talking about that after the game and continue to talk about
it, so trust me when I tell you it was noticeable.</p>


I had a feeling, <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/against_jets_giants_defense_wi.html">from
the way the Giants’ defensive backs were talking</a> last week, we wouldn’t see
much of rookie CB Prince Amukamara. That’s exactly what
happened, though he did make a brief appearance in the second half. (Great call
by the officials on the push-off on Burress to get separation from Amukamara.)
The Giants have to make sure they keep his confidence up. Remember how much
Webster meant to them during the ’07 playoff run after he got benched.</p>


Speaking of rookies who didn’t see much playing time, did you notice LB
Greg Jones in there for a few plays? He came up to help fill
the hole on a run midway through the second quarter.</p>

The way the game was shaking out, the Giants’ settling for a field goal after
Cruz got them to the 2-yard line with a 29-yard reception (15 yards after the
catch there) seemed to be a big victory for the Jets. The play that had the best
shot in that sequence was the play-action pass on first-and-goal TE
Travis Beckum dropped. The Jets simply bullied Beckum and TE
Bear Pascoe on that play. Pascoe was flattened by Harris as he
came off the ball. That seemed to be where Manning was looking initially. Then,
Beckum appeared to have trouble adjusting and finding the ball after LB
Bart Scott jammed him in the middle of his crossing route.
Without TE Jake Ballard, the Giants were forced to put Beckum
on the line there so he (and not OL Ugoh) could run the route. That also meant
WR Ramses Barden as the “move” tight end. That’s about as
undersized as you can get in a jumbo formation. The next play was a run wide
right Jacobs had to cut back a bit because Pascoe lost ground on his block. I’m
a bit surprised the Giants felt they could use that formation without
Ballard.</p>


The replay reversal of Kerley’s fumble cost Ross his third defensive
touchdown of his career. One of his previous two was the pick six against the
Jets in ’07, so he would’ve had two in two games against the Jets.</p>


What the heck was Jets LB Jamaal Westerman thinking when he
got off the ground to hit Manning late in the third quarter? A lot of these
roughing-the-passer penalties are close. That, uh, was not one of them. It
didn’t matter much because it resulted in a punt by the Giants but the former
Scarlet Knight has to know better.</p>


That onside free kick after the safety was awfully dangerous for the Giants.
FB Henry Hynoski was part of the wall trying to clear room for
Nicks to recover the ball. But Hynoski didn’t see until late the ball was coming
for him and tried to leap out of the way. It ricocheted off him and, luckily for
the Giants, squirted out of bounds.</p>


I had somebody ask me if I saw much twisting from the Giants' D-line after
saying in my game preview the Eagles had done it successfully. I saw a little
and even noticed they stood up their rushers like Philly did. Could they have
done more? Yeah. But I think they also wanted to work on batting balls down at
the line and closing those throwing windows. They were certainly effective doing
all of that.</p>


And finally, to bring it all back to the replay theme, if you’re wondering
why the safety wasn’t replayed, it’s because it was ruled Sanchez’s forward
progress had been stopped. Forward progress is not reviewable. Of course, in the
end, it was the right call anyway so worry about it no more."</p>

GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN MOVING SLOWLY AFTER SUFFERING LEG INJURY VS. JETS, BUT SAYS "NEVER BETTER" (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_tom_coughlin_moving_slo.html)
</p>Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin climbed the stairs one by one on his way up to the podium for
his press conference today. He's clearly stiff and sore after D.J. Ware was
shoved into him by Aaron Maybin on the sideline late in Saturday's victory over
the Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets).


Still...</p>


"Never better," the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants)' coach
said, repeating <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/politi_giants_tom_coughlin_out.html">what
he said after the game</a>. "I may not be able to run for a while."</p>


Coughlin said he didn't go for any tests on his leg and doesn't plan to do so
in the near future. He's not making this about him but he had some fun with
media asking about the subject.</p>


"I'm not going to disclose injuries," he said slowly and sarcastically when
asked what part of his leg is hurting.</p>


Asked if he showed up for treatment on Sunday, Coughlin deadpanned, "I did -
to check on the players that were there."</p>


When asked if he'll be coaching from the box anytime, Coughlin laughed and
said, "No, I'll move a little quicker."</p>


And when asked how much Ware was fined for running into him, without missing
a beat, Coughlin shot back, "Uh, he's no longer with the team."</p>


Seriously, though, he blamed himself for the incident.</p>


"The problem I had is I relaxed because he was out of bounds. The only thing
that happened was, 10 yards later, he got hit out of bounds," Coughlin said. "As
John Mara said, 'Too bad you got hurt (but) we got the 15 yards.'"</p>


Coughlin indicated he should've kept his eye on Ware.</p>


"Watch the game. Keep your eye on the field," Coughlin said. "Sometimes
someone will come to you and you'll visit that way but if there's a normal
situation, for example a punt, you'd better not fall asleep on a punt. It's my
fault. It should've never happened. But it could've been worse."</p>


* * * * </p>


Here's a rundown of the injured players:</p>


--DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) "is still..." That was the extent of
Coughlin's answer and, frankly, the extent of the question I asked. He cut me
off and then the next question cut him off. Translation: Umenyiora is still in a
holding pattern and doesn't sound to be on the good side of questionable for
Sunday's game against the Cowboys.</p>


--"Questionable to start the week" is how Coughlin described WR Mario
Manningham (knee), whom he said started to feel better late last week. He's
hopeful Manningham will be ready to play.</p>


--TE Jake Ballard (knee) said he's improving but isn't yet where he needs to
be. Ballard said he hasn't run yet and, as of this point, isn't ready to play.
But he has six days to get there so stay tuned.
</p>


--There are plenty of sore players, plus the entire roster is drained
physically and mentally after Saturday's game. In fact, DE Justin Tuck believes
his 88 snaps were the most he's played at the NFL level. Coughlin said three
players (DE Jason Pierre-Paul, CB Corey Webster and S Antrel Rolle) played over
100 snaps, which is an astronomical number. They can than the offense's
inability to sustain drives as part of the issue there. But the team does have
an extra day to get back to full strength, which makes Coughlin, Tuck and others
happy." Read more...
</p>REX RYAN DOESN'T REGRET OUTSPOKEN APPROACH BEFORE GAME (http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2011/12/rex_ryan_doesnt_regret_outspok.html)

Excerpt: "Rex Ryan's Jets were humbled by the cross-town Giants in a 29-14 loss on
Christmas Eve. But after a week of saying he doesn't want to be the "little
brother" or "second fiddle" in the area rivalry, and that his team is the better
team, the Jets coach doesn't regret his message.


"The day I walked in here ... I felt that I didn’t want to be the little
brother or whatever," Ryan said. "That’s who I am, and so do I regret it? No.
Did it work out? Nope, it never worked out. But I'm never going to say I regret
anything that I believe in my heart. I've always said from Day One I am going to
be true to myself, and when I leave this job 10 or 15 years from now, I'm going
to be true to myself." Read more...
</p><font size="4"><u>NY DAILY NEWS</u></font><u><font size="4">
</font></u><font size="4"><font size="3">
GIANTS' JUSTIN TUCK "HATES" THE COWBOYS, WOULD LIKE TO ELIMINATE TONY ROMO &amp; COMPANY FROM PLAYOFFS (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-justin-tuck-hates-dallas-cowboys-win-nfc-east-championship-eliminate-tony-romo-company-playoffs-article-1.997062)

"</font></font>Justin Tuck (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Justin+Tuck) hates the
Cowboys more than any other team – even more than the trash-talking Jets and
bitter enemy Eagles – and knows exactly where he would like to stick the
Cowboys’ famed metallic blue star after the winner-take-all NFC East
Championship Game on Sunday night.
<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">

“It would pack its bags and go on
vacation,” he said Monday.

Will that happen?

“Are you asking me if
I think we’re going to win the game? What do you expect me to say?” Tuck said
laughing. Then, he said, “I mean, hey, I think we’re going to win the football
game.”

Why does he hate the Cowboys so much? “It’s just the persona of
America’s Team,” he told me before the Giants played in Dallas on Dec.
11.

Tuck has never been reluctant to say how much he dislikes Dallas.
Asked Monday why he hates them more than any other team, he said, “Just because
I want to. For me personally, I’ve been quoted many times saying I hate the
Cowboys and that’s still true.”

The Giants’ emerging star wide receiver
Victor Cruz (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz) grew up in
New Jersey as a devoted Cowboys fan — he was crushed when the Giants beat the
Cowboys in the playoffs at Texas Stadium in 2007 — but said he’s already
envisioned the NFC East championship hat he will be wearing late Sunday
night.

Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin) made a
big deal about the Cowboys’ star in the Giants’ boisterous winning locker room
at Cowboys Stadium a little more than two weeks ago, after Big Blue came from 12
points down in the final 3:14 to win, 37-34, avoiding overtime when Jason Pierre-Paul (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jason+Pierre-Paul)
blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt with one second remaining.

As his
players circled around him in the locker room, Coughlin was fired
up.

“You guys did a tremendous job, in the division, to take the star
down off the mountain, put the NYG up on top,” he said as he symbolically made
the change with the index finger on his right hand. “Now, listen up. You got to
keep it there now. I mean, every one of these battles, every one’s a struggle
now.”

The Giants have a chance to put the NYG permanently on top for the
2011 season if they can win this week. What did Tuck take from that speech? “We
were No. 1 in the NFC East and Sunday night we could be No. 1 in the NFC East,”
he said.

Tuck wouldn’t even acknowledge on Monday that the Cowboys are
America’s Team. Cruz dropped his allegiance to the Cowboys when he made the
Giants last year as a rookie free agent.

Coughlin’s postgame speech has
stuck with the Giants. What happens to the star with a Giants
victory?

“It will be the same thing, keeping the New York Giants on top
of the mountain and we will be wearing our NFC East champion hats and stuff like
that,” Cruz said. “Just to beat them and be able to wear those hats and be in
the playoffs, it’s just going to be an amazing, amazing feeling and hopefully I
can feel that on Sunday night.”

This is all or nothing. The winner will
be the NFC East champs and earn the No. 4 seed.

The loser is
done.

Tuck wants that Cowboys star to head home for the offseason while
the NYG keeps on playing. The NFC East winner will play at least one playoff
game at home. The Giants have lost their last two home playoff games – to the
Panthers in 2005 and Eagles in 2008. They have not won a home playoff game since
2000. It would be the first playoff game in the two years of $1.7 billion
MetLife Stadium.

“I know our crowd is going to be fired up for this
game,” Tuck said. “Playoff atmosphere, Sunday night, winner take all. I know our
fans hate the Cowboys as much as I do. So it will be fun. There you go, I just
said it.”

The Cowboys and Giants are 8-7, so the winner will be the first
NFC East champion to finish with fewer than 10 victories since the division was
formed in 1970. That hasn’t stopped Cruz from dreaming about putting the NFC
East champion hat on his head.

At least he’s not wearing it yet. The
Giants got themselves all worked up before the divisional playoff game in Dallas
four years ago, when Coughlin informed them that Jerry Jones (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jerry+Jones) had already
given the Cowboys players two tickets to the NFC Championship Game at Texas
Stadium two days before they played the Giants.

After the Giants
eliminated the Cowboys, 21-17, Coughlin addressed his players.

“I don’t
want anybody talking about this in the media,” he said in a real serious tone,
then, with his right arm extended like he was holding something in his hand, he
told them, “Jerry just sent the tickets over. So, we’re all set.”

Tuck
did say his hatred is actually based partially on the respect he has for the
Cowboys.

“They seem to do it as close to the right way as we do with
their owner and their past championships and past players,” he said. “The two
teams are probably more similar than we like to give each other credit. That’s
one of the reasons these games are so embraced. We have a lot of mutual
respect.”</p>


And because he respects/hates them so much, he’s ready to send the Cowboys
and their star on a nice long vacation.

Maybe he should think about
Cabo."</p></div><font size="3">ELI MANNING'S COMEBACK THIS SEASON LATEST INSTALLMENT IN STORIED GIANTS-DALLAS RIVALRY</font> (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/eli-manning-comeback-season-latest-installment-storied-ny-giants-dallas-cowboys-rivalry-article-1.997123)

Excerpt: "Eli Manning (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eli+Manning) erased a
12-point deficit in the final 3:41 and <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-save-season-win-dallas-cowboys-eli-manning-puts-comeback-jason-pierre-paul-blocks-tying-fg-attempt-article-1.990163" target="_blank">Jason Pierre-Paul ended the game by blocking Dan Bailey’s
potential tying field goal</a>.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


That’s what happened when Big Blue topped the Cowboys in Big D, the latest
dramatic chapter in a fierce Giants-Cowboys rivalry that will be renewed Sunday
night, when both clubs lock horns for the NFC East title. If history is any
indication, it should be a game filled with fireworks. Week 14’s comeback was
just one memorable moment in a saga filled with bad blood and unforgettable
games. Here are our top 10 Giants-Cowboys moments in chronological order:</p>


Dec. 4, 1960: THE BEGINNING
Wellington Mara (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Wellington+Mara)
always had the NFL’s best interests in mind, but his recommendation for the
first head coach of the expansion Cowboys would come back to haunt the Giants
for years. Tom Landry (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Landry) had resigned
as the Giants’ defensive coordinator after the 1959 season to return to his
native Texas and work in private business. When Mara got word that the upstart
AFL was courting Landry to coach its new Dallas franchise, he called <a title="Tex Schramm" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tex+Schramm">Tex
Schramm</a>, who hired Landry as the first Cowboys coach. Landry didn’t win a
game his first season but the Cowboys’ only non-loss that year was a 31-31 tie
with the Giants at Yankee Stadium.
The next season, Landry got that elusive
first win in the opener, then won 269 more, including a pair of Super Bowls.</p>


Dec. 19, 1981: THE AWAKENING
While Landry built the
Cowboys into America's Team in the 1970s, Big Blue failed to make the playoffs
from 1964-1980. That trend began to change on this icy afternoon at the
Meadowlands. An 8-7 Giants team needed to beat 12-3 Dallas to make the playoffs,
and it upended the Cowboys, 13-10, in overtime.

With a young Bill Parcells (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bill+Parcells) calling
the defensive shots, the Giants held the Cowboys to a season-low-tying 10
points. That gave Giants kicker Joe Danelo (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Joe+Danelo) time to get
going. Danelo missed three field goals, but he nailed a 40-yarder with 30
seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, then hit a 35-yarder
in the extra period to send Big Blue to the postseason.</p><div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Nov. 26, 1992: THE WHINING
Think of this as the start of
the modern-era hate between these two clubs. The Cowboys crushed the Giants,
30-3, at Texas Stadium in this Thanksgiving Day clash, exploding for 21
second-half points. That led the Giants to complain before the first meeting the
next season that <a title="Jimmy Johnson (Football)" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jimmy+Johnson+%28Football%29">Jimmy
Johnson</a>’s club had run up the score, leading Johnson to respond to the Daily
News that Big Blue’s players would never survive in Dallas.</p>


“I don't want whiners on our football team,” he said. “In all honesty, a
classy football team doesn’t cry and whine about somebody beating them up.”</p>


Jan. 2, 1994: EMMITT SHOULDERS THE LOAD
The winner of
this battle of 11-4 teams at the Meadowlands would claim the NFC East title, and
the Giants, with Phil Simms (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Phil+Simms) and Lawrence Taylor (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Lawrence+Taylor) in
their final season, thought they had a chance when Cowboys <a title="Emmitt Smith" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Emmitt+Smith">running back Emmitt
Smith</a> suffered a separated shoulder in the first half.

But the injury
wouldn’t slow Smith. The Giants and Cowboys played to a 13-13 stalemate, but in
overtime, Smith touched the ball on nine of 11 plays to get <a title="Eddie Murray (Football)" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eddie+Murray+%28Football%29">kicker Eddie
Murray</a> into position for a game-winning 41-yard field goal. Dallas won,
16-13, on its way to a second straight Super Bowl title.</p>


Nov. 7, 1994: THE BRAWL
All the hate finally boiled over
in Dallas when the Cowboys beat the Giants, 38-10, on Monday Night Football.
Dallas built a 14-3 first-half edge, but just before the half, <a title="Troy Aikman" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Troy+Aikman">Troy
Aikman</a> launched a Hail Mary toward Alvin Harper (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Alvin+Harper) in the
end zone. As Harper went up for the ball, he was smacked by Giants <a title="Tito Wooten" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tito+Wooten">safety
Tito Wooten</a>, sparking a brawl. Cowboys WR Michael Irvin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Michael+Irvin) and
receivers coach Hubbard Alexander (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Hubbard+Alexander)
attacked Giants CB Jarvis Williams (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jarvis+Williams),
and Cowboys safety James Washington (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/James+Washington)
dared all comers to take him on. The fracas somehow sparked the Giants, who lost
the game but went 6-1 the rest of the year." Read more...
</p></div></div>GIANTS GEARED UP FOR COWBOYS WITH NFC EAST ON THE LINE, BUT HISTORY SAYS BIG BLUE SUFFERS FROM HOME FIELD DISADVANTAGE (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-geared-dallas-cowboys-nfc-east-line-history-big-blue-suffers-home-field-disadvantage-article-1.997063)

Excerpt: "The stage is set for the Giants to get everything they’ve fought for all
season. They couldn’t ask for much more than a winner-take-all game against the
Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night for the NFC East title.
<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


The only thing
that might be better for them is if the game were played someplace
else.

The Giants welcome the chance to have this do-or-die game at
MetLife Stadium, but the truth is they’ve had very few happy homecomings this
season. They are just 3-4 in front of their home fans, including three absolute
stinkers against the Redskins, Eagles and Seahawks.

Even in big games at
home with a lot to play for, they have a tendency to fall flat on their
face.

“We let a few slip away early on at home,” receiver <a title="Victor Cruz" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz">Victor
Cruz</a> said Monday. “It’s a little frustrating. I don’t really have an answer
for it. It’s just one of those weird things that kind of happens throughout the
course of the season.”

“When we go on the road you always just have that
mind-set of ‘me against the world,’?” Justin Tuck (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Justin+Tuck) added.
“When you’re at home you have a tendency to relax in some ways. But that’s no
excuse. We’ve got to play better at home. We all know that.”

They’ve
known that for years, but with the exception of 2008 when they were 7-1 at old
Giants Stadium, Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin)’s teams
have been mediocre (33-30) in the Meadowlands. They’ve looked even worse this
year.

On Oct. 9 they lost 36-25 at home to a bad Seattle Seahawks team
that hadn’t won in the Eastern Time Zone in years and lost its starting
quarterback midway through the game. On Oct. 30 at home, they needed a late
rally to beat a winless Dolphins team, 20-17. They lost 17-10 at home to the
Eagles on Nov. 20 when they had a chance to put the “Dream Team” away. They
followed that with a lifeless 23-10 loss to the Redskins on Dec. 18 in a game
that could’ve made their road to the playoffs a whole lot easier.

In each
of those four games they were booed, sometimes relentlessly, for what looked
like a passionless performance. They turned their home-field advantage into a
House of Horrors.

How can that continually happen in their own building
in such critical spots?" Read more...
</p></div>GIANTS' COACH TOM COUGHLIN SHAKES OFF PAIN, WON'T DISCLOSE EXTENT OF (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-coach-tom-coughlin-shakes-pain-disclose-extent-knee-injury-collision-running-back-ware-article-1.997133)

Excerpt: "Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin)'s walk to
the front of the room on Monday was slow and looked painful, and he had trouble
walking up the stairs to his podium due to his injured leg. But no matter how
hurt he is, one thing is certain:<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Coughlin will be standing on the sidelines as usual when practice resumes on
Wednesday morning.</p>


“He better be at practice,” safety Antrel Rolle (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Antrel+Rolle) said with
a smile. “We’ve got to have everybody on board. That means him, too.”</p>


There was never a doubt, of course, even after Coughlin took a nasty shot to
his left leg during the Giants’ 29-14 win over the Jets on Saturday. The hit
came at the end of a 17-yard run by D.J. Ware, who was then hit late by Jets
linebacker Aaron Maybin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Aaron+Maybin) and sent
flying into his coach.</p>


Coughlin joked that Ware “is no longer with the team” and that “I may not be
able to run for a while.” He also said that while he showed up at the
Meadowlands for treatment on Christmas morning, it was only “to check on the
players that were there.”</p>


Not surprisingly, Coughlin refused to disclose anything specific about his
injury, except to say that a trip to the hospital will not happen “in the near
future.”</p>


“It’s my fault. It should have never happened,” Coughlin said. “But it
could’ve been worse.”</p>


Actually, Coughlin didn’t completely take the blame for absorbing the hit. He
pointed out that it wouldn’t have happened if Maybin hadn’t hit Ware so
late.</p>


“The problem that I had is I relaxed because he was out of bounds,” Coughlin
said. “The only thing that happened was that 10 yards later he got hit out of
bounds.

As John Mara (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Mara) said, ‘Too bad
you got hurt, (but) we got the 15 yards.’” Read more...
</p></div>
<font size="4"><font size="3"></font></font><u><font size="4">NY POST</font></u>

GIANTS MUST USE HOME-FIELD EDGE AGAINS4T COWBOYS (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/giants_must_make_home_where_the_8zQ6q5iNMaG7d3LQvu COpL)

"The Giants won’t be throwing in the white towel Sunday night, but they will
be distributing thousands of them emblazoned with their new credo — “All In’’ —
for the most significant game in the two-year history of MetLife Stadium. The
sight should be inspiring, the scene intimidating to the Cowboys, making it an
incredibly difficult environment for the despised visiting team to escape
unscathed.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


The home-field advantage should be a punch to the chin of the Cowboys, not a
punch line, but when it comes to taking care of business the joke’s on the
Giants. </p>
<div id="intext_area_middle" class="intext_area">
<div class="block ad wrap quigo">
</div></div>


The thought of a towel-waving frenzy, a cauldron of noise and intensity on a
chilled New Year’s Day evening, the idea that Tony Romo’s teammates will have to
strain to hear his snap count and Jason Pierre-Paul’s exhortations will force
the Cowboys to burn a timeout because they simply cannot function are all
ingredients in a home-cooked meal that isn’t served any more.</p>


In the two-year lifespan of the $1.6 billion stadium they share with the
curtain-draping,<a class="topiclink" href="/t/Super_Bowl"> Super Bowl
</a>logo-hiding Jets, the Giants have played 15 regular-season games, and the
paying customers, their loyal fans, have seen them win eight times and lose
seven times. </p>


The Giants are 3-4 at home this season, finding a way to lose to the
cross-country traveling Seahawks, the Michael-Vick-less Eagles and, most
recently and most tellingly, to the just-plain-crummy Redskins in a performance
that should have prompted refunds.</p>


Justin Tuck yesterday said he hadn’t even thought about the home-field
advantage this winner-take-all game should provide the Giants, who Antrel Rolle (/t/Rolle)insists are already in “playoff
mode.’’ </p>


Tuck then added, “It should be [an advantage], definitely. We love the
atmosphere in our stadium. We know it’s going to be a playoff-type atmosphere,
playoff game for both teams, win or go home, and you got to love that.’’</p>


Rolle sort of dismissed the impact staying home might provide.</p>


“I’m happy this game is home, the majority for the fans, we don’t have to
travel,” Rolle said. but at the same time it doesn’t have any effect on the game
whatsoever.”</p>


If that is indeed the case it is a sad state of affairs in an age where
Personal Seat Licenses and luxury suites and all-you-can-eat halftime buffets
turn football stadiums into catered entertainment emporiums.</p>


If MetLife Stadium could talk, it would probably apologize for its sterile
grey interior, Venetian blind exterior and for ridiculous PSL price-tag of
$10,000 to put one tuchas in one seat. The stadium would then lambaste
the Giants. </p>


“I have provided a luxurious locker room for you and this is how you
repay me, by making Charlie Whitehurst and Rex Grossman look legitimate?’’
</p>


Old Giants Stadium, demolished before our very eyes, surely housed some
stinkers in huge moments, more recently a shutout playoff loss to the Panthers
after the 2005 season and the 2009 41-9 loss, again to the Panthers, in the
Giants final came there.</p>


The new place hasn’t had a moment yet to call its own and this is the time,
the moment, for it to happen. </p>


But does anyone even remotely think the Cowboys will be dropped into an
impossible spot?Does anyone think “No way they beat the Giants in THAT
place.”</p>


The Giants aren’t even thinking in those terms.</p>


“It’s always an advantage playing here, with our fans and their natural hate
for the Cowboys is always good,’’ Victor Cruz said, before admitting the
baffling home struggles are “kind of weird because that kind of feeling just
takes over the team for that specific game.’’</p>


Tuck did not discount that the Giants lose their edge when they stay put.
</p>


“When you’re at home you do have a tendency to relax, play a little looser in
some ways but that’s no excuse,’’ he said. “We got to play better at home and we
all know that.’’</p>


The Giants and Cowboys are both 8-7, displaying strengths and weaknesses on a
weekly basis.Where this game is played should be a huge factor.The Giants owe it
to their fans to give them something to cheer about.</p>


“More than that we owe it to ourselves,’’ Tuck said. “Absolutely, we got very
loyal fans and they come out and they spend the money on the tickets and the
PSLs and they’re there every Sunday. I would love to give a great effort and
show them the true Giants team we have in this locker room.’’</p>


That would finally turn a game on a home field into a game with a home-field
advantage."
</p></div>GIANTS' WR HOPING TO CRUZ TO PRO BOWL (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/victor_hoping_to_cruz_to_hawaii_kj81g5jelTce2gPEQD U4hO)

"Victor Cruz has beaten the odds plenty of times already in his young Giants
career.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Big Blue’s rising-star wide receiver will find out if he did that one more
time tonight when results of the NFL’s<a class="topiclink" href="/t/Pro_Bowl"> Pro
Bowl </a>voting are announced.</p>


Cruz is having a season more than worthy of a trip to Hawaii, with the former
undrafted free agent ranking third in the NFL in receiving yards (1,358) and
sixth among wide receivers in catches (76), but he faces an uphill climb because
the Giants were unable to get his name on the fan ballot.</p>


Cruz still has a chance to make the Pro Bowl because the separate fan, player
and coach voting all count evenly toward a roster spot, but he will need a huge
push from his NFC peers and coaches to get there.</p>
<div id="intext_area_middle" class="intext_area narrow">
<div class="block ad wrap quigo">
</div></div>


<a href="http://www.nypost.com/blogs/giantsblog" target="_blank">UPDATES FROM
OUR GIANTS BLOG</a> </p>


Giants defensive end<a class="topiclink" href="/t/Jason_Pierre-Paul"> Jason
Pierre-Paul </a>— who ranks fourth in the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks — is in a
similar position to Cruz. The team could only nominate two players at
Pierre-Paul’s position by the Oct. 25 deadline, and veterans Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora (/t/Osi_Umenyiora)got the nod
instead.</p>


With the 8-7 Giants preparing for a do-or-die regular-season finale with the
Cowboys on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium, Cruz said yesterday the Pro Bowl was
the last thing on his mind.</p>


“It’s just one of those things — if it happens, it’s a blessing, and if not,
it’s just something to aspire to in the next years,” Cruz said. “It’s always
been a goal. It’s one of those things [where] you watch the Pro Bowl as a kid
every year and you watch those great guys go out there. Hopefully, if my name’s
called, it will be amazing. If not, I’ll just look forward to the next
year.”</p>


Unfortunately for Cruz, whose three receptions for 164 yards in the Giants’
29-14 win over the Jets last Saturday included a team-record, 99-yard TD,
players and coaches can vote for only players in their own conference.</p>


“If [Rex Ryan] had a vote, I think I’d have that one,” Cruz
said."</p></div>GIANTS' COUGHLIN FEELING BETTER, SOME PLAYERS AREN'T (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/coughlin_feeling_better_others_aren_UvejlTj2tLhIiq lLVqd16O)

Excerpt: "
<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Tom Coughlin appeared to be in better shape than at least three of his
players yesterday.</p>


While the Giants coach gamely and good-naturedly shrugged off questions about
his leg after a sideline spill last Saturday, Coughlin’s team could be without
defensive end Osi Umenyiora, tight end Jake Ballard and wideout Mario Manningham (/t/Mario_Manningham)again for
Sunday night’s do-or-die battle with the Cowboys.</p>


Umenyiora remains hobbled by the high ankle sprain that has sidelined him
each of the past four games, and Ballard (partially torn PCL) and Manningham
(knee soreness) are big question marks going into the NFC East showdown at
MetLife Stadium.</p>
<div id="intext_area_middle" class="intext_area narrow">
<div class="block ad wrap quigo">
</div></div>


Of the three players, Coughlin appeared the most optimistic about Manningham
after the receiver sat out last weekend’s win over the Jets.</p>


<a href="http://www.nypost.com/blogs/giantsblog" target="_blank">UPDATES FROM
OUR GIANTS BLOG</a> </p>


“I would hope Manningham could make it,” Coughlin said. “He started to feel
better at the end of [last] week.”</p>


There was no such upbeat talk about Ballard, the big tight end who also sat
out the win over the Jets after injuring his knee the week before against
Washington. Ballard said yesterday he is still in pain and he would not have
been able to play if the game had been scheduled for that day.</p>


Coughlin, however, was cheeriest of all about himself. He still won’t say the
extent of the injury he suffered to his leg when Giants running back D.J. Ware
ran into him on the sidelines last Saturday, claiming instead he has felt “never
better” since the pileup.</p>


Unlike Saints coach Sean Payton, who tore knee ligaments in a similar
situation earlier this year, Coughlin ruled out coaching from the press box
Sunday night.</p>


“I may not be able to run for a while, though,” Coughlin said, smiling.</p>


Asked how much Ware had been fined for running into him, Coughlin cracked
another joke.</p>


“Actually, he is no longer with the team,” Coughlin deadpanned.</p>


* The Giants expect Tony Romo to start for the Cowboys after
the Dallas quarterback told reporters yesterday the swelling in his throwing
hand had gone down “a little bit.” </p>


Romo was pulled early from the Cowboys’ meaningless loss to the Eagles last
week after injuring his hand, but the Giants always considered that a
precautionary move.</p>


Cowboys running back Felix Jones said yesterday the
hamstring injury that limited him to just six plays against Philadelphia was
much improved, while standout linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring)
guaranteed he would play."
</p></div>GIANTS' TUCK FEEDS OFF HIS HATE WHEN IT COMES TO COWBOYS (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/tuck_counts_on_the_spite_stuff_IFEDx66WZk38RJsFeCd zQN)

"As if the Giants’ do-or-die matchup with the Cowboys this week needed the
extra hype, Justin Tuck (/t/Justin_Tuck)tossed some
gasoline on it and lit a match yesterday.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


Long known for his animus toward Dallas, Big Blue’s proud defensive end
wasn’t afraid to give the Cowboys bulletin-board material going into Sunday
night’s “playoff bowl” between the NFC East co-leaders at MetLife Stadium.</p>


“I’ve been quoted many times saying I hate the Cowboys, and that’s still
true,” said Tuck, who has knocked virtually everything about America’s Team at
one time or another over the years. “I don’t like the Cowboys and they don’t
like me, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
</p>Even the mere mention of the phrase “America’s Team” drew a sarcastic
response from Tuck.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


“They’re what?” he snapped.</p>



Only when Tuck was pressed on whether he agreed with that moniker did he
finally think twice about firing up the 8-7 Cowboys even more before they square
off with his 8-7 Giants.</p>


“I didn’t say a word,” Tuck said, smiling as he promised to give reporters
more verbal ammunition when he is scheduled to speak to the media again
Thursday.</p>


Tuck was merely picking up where he left off before and after the Giants’
37-34 road win in Arlington, Texas, earlier this month, when the Big Blue
veteran shot back at Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (/t/DeMarcus_Ware)for claiming Tuck was just jealous
and secretly wants to play for the Cowboys.</p>


While Tuck continues to insist that is not the case, he admitted yesterday
his hatred of the Cowboys also comes with a healthy side dish of respect.</p>


“In the Dallas weeks, we probably trash-talk a little bit more,” Tuck said.
“But I think it has a lot to do with respect. Those Dallas teams, they just seem
to do it as close to the right way as we do ... with their owner [Jerry Jones],
their past championships and past [great] players.</p>


“The two teams are probably more similar than we like to give each other
credit,” he added. “That’s one of the reasons why these games are so embraced.
Both teams have a lot of respect for each other.”</p>


The win-or-go-home nature of this weekend’s game for both teams only adds to
the drama, Tuck said.</p>


“It’s going to be fun — playoff atmosphere on a Sunday night, cold game with
a lot of hard hits,” he said. “Regardless of whoever wins, the whole team is
going to be in the cold tub the next day. That’s what football is made of.
You’ve got two big rivals in a winner-takes-all situation. You really couldn’t
create a better circumstance going into the playoffs. I know I’m going to be
riled up.”</p>


Tuck no doubt was feeling his oats after by far his best game of an
injury-marred season Saturday, when he notched four tackles, a sack, a tackle
for a loss and two pass breakups in the Giants’ 29-14 win over the Jets.</p>


The most important number to Tuck from that game, though, was that he played
88 snaps on defense and special teams — the most in any game in his seven-year
NFL career.</p>


Add the fact three other defensive teammates — Jason Pierre-Paul, Antrel Rolle (/t/Antrel_Rolle)and Corey Webster —
each played a staggering 100-plus plays on defense and special teams showed Tuck
and coach Tom Coughlin (/t/Tom_Coughlin)that the
Giants are all-in when it comes to ending their two-year playoff drought.</p>


“Three guys played over 100 snaps because it was all hands on deck,” Coughlin
said yesterday. “We had to have it, and those guys volunteered, came forward,
wanted to be a part of it. They certainly set a great example for the rest of
our team.”</p>


Rolle said it will be the same story for the Giants this week.</p>


“May the best man win,” he said. “Lose, and you go home. No one remembers
second place.”</p>GIANTS LIKELY WITHOUT OSI, JAKE, AND MARIO (http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/giantsblog/giants_likely_without_osi_jake_mario_pNrI0TXpALaOu avIz7GUAN)
</div></div>
"The Giants appear increasingly likely to be without two key pieces on offense
and Osi Umenyiora again Sunday when they square off with the Cowboys for the NFC
East title and a spot in the playoffs.<div>


Along with Umenyiora, tight end Jake Ballard (partially torn PCL) and wide
receiver Mario Manningham (sore knee) received downbeat assessments from Tom
Coughlin as the Giants prepared for their win-or-go-home showdown with Dallas at
MetLife Stadium.</p>


Ballard said he is still in pain and would not have been able to play if the
game had been held Monday. Coughlin said he hopes Manningham can play this
weekend but did not sound confident.</p>


At least the Giants would be accustomed to having to adjust without all three
players. Umenyiora (high ankl

G-Men Surg.
12-27-2011, 12:08 PM
Thanks RF !

NY_Eli
12-27-2011, 12:41 PM
Thanks RF! Cowboys vs. Giants, division on the line, it doesn't get much better than this!

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 12:42 PM
Thanks RF !

[Y]

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 12:42 PM
Thanks RF! Cowboys vs. Giants, division on the line, it doesn't get much better than this!

[B]

nygsb42champs
12-27-2011, 12:47 PM
Thanks RF!

BigBlue1971
12-27-2011, 12:53 PM
thanks Roanoke! [B]

GameTime
12-27-2011, 12:55 PM
thanks again Ro.....</P>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</P>

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 01:30 PM
thanks again Ro.....</p>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</p>

[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]

GameTime
12-27-2011, 01:37 PM
thanks again Ro.....</P>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</P>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</P>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</P>

lttaylor56
12-27-2011, 02:04 PM
thanks again Ro.....</P>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</P>




[Y]* We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about?* [;)]
</P>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</P>The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land!

Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 02:31 PM
thanks again Ro.....</p>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</p>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</p>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</p>

I'm with you there lol

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 02:33 PM
thanks again Ro.....</p>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</p>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</p>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</p>The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land!

Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.

You must have read m,y mind. I was going to ask if we get a home game by winning the division. [Y] Not yet sure if we're tailgating, but as soon as I know I'll be in touch. Scheduling is such a pain in the buitt

GameTime
12-27-2011, 02:41 PM
thanks again Ro.....</P>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</P>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</P>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</P>


The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land! Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.</P>


lets win Sunday first....then you can be all happy happy.....[;)]</P>

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 02:47 PM
thanks again Ro.....</p>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</p>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</p>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</p>


The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land! Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.</p>


lets win Sunday first....then you can be all happy happy.....[;)]</p>

If we win Sunday, will you join me in petitioning John Mara for the name change? [6]

GameTime
12-27-2011, 02:55 PM
thanks again Ro.....</P>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</P>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</P>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</P>


The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land! Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.</P>


lets win Sunday first....then you can be all happy happy.....[;)]</P>




If we win Sunday, will you join me in petitioning John Mara for the name change? [6]
</P>


what name change??? Calling the Metlife "Giantland".....sounds good to me....</P>

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 03:18 PM
thanks again Ro.....</p>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</p>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</p>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</p>


The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land! Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.</p>


lets win Sunday first....then you can be all happy happy.....[;)]</p>




If we win Sunday, will you join me in petitioning John Mara for the name change? [6]
</p>


what name change??? Calling the Metlife "Giantland".....sounds good to me....</p>

How soon we forget, Buckaroo lol

GameTime
12-27-2011, 03:24 PM
thanks again Ro.....</P>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</P>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</P>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</P>


The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land! Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.</P>


lets win Sunday first....then you can be all happy happy.....[;)]</P>




If we win Sunday, will you join me in petitioning John Mara for the name change? [6]
</P>


what name change??? Calling the Metlife "Giantland".....sounds good to me....</P>




How soon we forget, Buckaroo lol
</P>


Come on Ro....you know my brain is shot. Remember when I met you at the game and you said your son will be wearing a Nicks jersey. Well when you showed up I was like where is the "Knicks" jersey. My brain doesnt work too well sometimes....lol</P>

RoanokeFan
12-27-2011, 03:30 PM
thanks again Ro.....</p>


thanks for keeping it positive too...[;)]</p>




[Y] We are about ti win the DIVISION, what's not to be positive about? [;)]
</p>


its not that I dont think that its the roller coaster ride that I have to endure to get there.....lol</p>


The Giants surely do not make the ride a smooth one, but we are about to win the division and host a home Wildcard playoff game on Jan 8th. Things are GREAT in Giant Land! Thanks Ro-We are going to have a great time this Sunday. I can't wait.</p>


lets win Sunday first....then you can be all happy happy.....[;)]</p>




If we win Sunday, will you join me in petitioning John Mara for the name change? [6]
</p>


what name change??? Calling the Metlife "Giantland".....sounds good to me....</p>




How soon we forget, Buckaroo lol
</p>


Come on Ro....you know my brain is shot. Remember when I met you at the game and you said your son will be wearing a Nicks jersey. Well when you showed up I was like where is the "Knicks" jersey. My brain doesnt work too well sometimes....lol</p>

LMAO now we are kindred spirits lol You have no idea how often I yell at the dog calling him one of our sons' names