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View Full Version : NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011 - 10:00 A.M.



RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 10:59 AM
<u><font color="#ff0000" size="4"><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">H</font><font face="Verdana" size="6">E</font><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">R</font><font face="Verdana" size="6">E </font><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">N</font><font face="Verdana" size="6">O</font><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">W</font><font face="Verdana" size="6"> T</font><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">H</font><font face="Verdana" size="6">E </font><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">N</font><font face="Verdana" size="6">E</font><font color="#0000FF" face="Verdana" size="6">W</font><font face="Verdana" size="6">S</font>

</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"><font size="6"><font size="4">
<font color="#000000"><u>I'M HEADING NORTH THIS MORNING TO WATCH, IN PERSON, THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS TAKE ON THE COWBOYS FOR THE NFC EAST TITLE. THE GATEWAY TO THE PLAYOFFS IS GIANTS' STADIUM WHERE WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS</u>
</font></font></font></font><font size="4"><font size="6">
</font></font><font size="4"><u>NEWARK STAR LEDGER</u></font>

GIANTS-COWBOYS GAME PREVIEW: A LOOK AHEAD TO THE BATTLE FOR THE NFC EAST (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants-cowboys_game_preview_a_1.html)

"I'm late here because I got caught up watching the BYU-Tulsa game. What a
finish there. I'm not sure how that game would matter any less if there were a
playoff system, but I digress.


Speaking of playoff systems, the NFL has a great one. And the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants) and Dallas Cowboys will battle for
the right to get into said playoffs. It should be a good one, and I'd expect the
most raucous crowd we've seen at MetLife Stadium so far.</p>


I'm already on record as saying <a href="http://web.sny.tv/media/video.jsp?content_id=20039983">I smell an easy
Giants victory here</a>. Though I dropped that on SNY on Tuesday before I knew
<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/jets_aaron_maybin_not_fined_fo.html">the
extent of Hakeem Nicks' hamstring issue</a>, I'm going to stick with it.</p>


Folks have been asking if I sense the same pep in the Giants' step this week
as I did a week ago. I've been telling them it's not as noticeable as it was a
week ago but that doesn't mean it's not there.</p>


Tom Coughlin was pleased with what he saw.</p>


"Because we practiced well and we’re geared towards a big game and I can feel
the enthusiasm as it grows," he said today. "Everybody knows it’s a game of
execution against two teams that seem to play incredibly close games every time
we play."</p>


* * * *</p>


SUNDAY'S GAME: vs. Cowboys, 8:20 p.m., NBC</p>


PLAYERS TO WATCH</p>


Offense: <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_jake_ballard_ruled_out.html">With
TE Jake Ballard down</a>, the onus is on TE Bear Pascoe to fill
the void. He didn't have a catch last week against the Jets and I just don't
think that'll be good enough this week.</p>


What the Cowboys did the last time these teams played, especially late in the
game, was double-cover all three receivers and leave Ballard 1-on-1. He hurt
them late with a touchdown catch and a grab to put them at the 1-yard line
before Brandon Jacobs scored the game-winner.</p>


How'd the Cowboys double-cover all three receivers? Well, they put two guys
on Victor Cruz in the slot and then had a safety over the top of Hakeem Nicks
and Mario Manningham. (More on the Cruz double coming on Sunday. Don't miss that
story.) Again, that left Ballard alone. Figure the Cowboys will do plenty more
of that, especially with Ballard on the sideline.</p>


Also, WR Ramses Barden was hard on himself following the
game against the Jets, in which he had a rough first half. Look to see if the
Giants lean on him (as well as TE Travis Beckum) a bit more to
help ease the loss of Ballard.</p>

Defense: DE Jason Pierre-Paul had two sacks
and, by my count, two pressures in the teams' first meeting. On those plays, LT
Doug Free got no help from a back or tight end. In the words of
Coughlin the day after the loss to the Eagles when he was talking about people
downplaying Philly, "Helllllloooo?"</p>


On his sacks, Pierre-Paul beat Free once to the outside (on the safety) and
once to the inside, so Dallas really needs to provide help on both sides of
Free.</p>


THE LINE: Giants by 3. Over-under 46.</p>


ONE MORE THING: Veteran OG Derrick Dockery, a familiar face
to the Giants because of his six seasons with the Redskins, will get the start
at LG in place of the injured Montrae Holland.</p>


* * * *</p>


The Cowboys are listing QB Tony Romo (hand) as probable after he practiced
again in a limited capacity. LB DeMarcus Ware (neck) is also probable after
practicing fully.</p>


Here's Dallas' full injury report:</p>


QUESTIONABLE: LB Sean Lee (wrist/illness), RB Felix Jones (hamtsring), S
Danny McCray (ankle), NT Josh Brent (knee), WR Kevin Ogletree (knee) and WR
Andre Holmes (hamstring).</p>


PROBABLE: QB Tony Romo (hand), LB DeMarcus Ware (neck), NT Jay Ratliff
(ribs), CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder), WR Laurent Robinson (shoulder) and P Mat
McBrian (left foot)."</p>GI9ANTS' JAKE BALLARD RULED OUT FOR DALLAS GAME (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_jake_ballard_ruled_out.html)

Excerpt: "tight end Jake Ballard, who caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in
the team's comeback victory over the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month, has been
ruled out of the rematch.


Ballard didn't practice all week and the team has designated him as "out" for
Sunday's game against the Cowboys. Ballard is dealing with a partially torn
posterior cruciate ligament (the one in the back of the knee). He said earlier
this week he was told <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_jake_ballard_not_making.html">it'll
be a 2-to-4 week recovery process</a>, which means he might be able to return
next week — if there is a next week.</p>


"It's extremely frustrating," Ballard said. "Sitting out last weekend was
really tough. I thought there'd be a chance to get back for this game, but it
hasn't turned out that way. This is a playoff game for us. We have to win and
get in.</p>


"It's killing me right now. Sitting and watching practice all week is driving
me crazy."</p>


Also ruled out was linebacker Mark Herzlich, who hasn't played since
suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Saints on Nov. 28. (More on him
below.)</p>


Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) is listed as questionable after
practicing in a limited capacity for the third straight day. He's expected to
play and be part of the rotation with Jason Pierre-Paul, who will get the
start.</p>


“He seemed to do okay each day,” coach Tom Coughlin said." Read more...
</p>
##

GIANTS' PERRY FEWLL NOT WORRIED ABOUT LIMITING JASON PIERRE-PAUL SNAP COUNT (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_perry_fewell_not_worrie.html)ANY MORE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_perry_fewell_not_worrie.html)

Excerpt: "Earlier this season, Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants) defensive
coordinator Perry Fewell said he wanted to get <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/10/jason_pierre-paul_takes_no_iss.html">Jason
Pierre-Paul's snap count down to about 45 per game</a>.


Last week against the Jets, Pierre-Paul was on the field for over 100
play.</p>


"I probably shouldn't make that statement," Fewell said with a laugh Thursday
about the reduction in playing time for Pierre-Paul. "Can I erase that one?"</p>


In an ideal game, Fewell would keep Pierre-Paul on the sideline for roughly a
third of the game. This weekend, he'll get a bit closer to such a scenario
because <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_osi_umenyiora_practices.html">Osi
Umenyiora is expected back in action</a>. That should help Pierre-Paul take a
breather, not that Fewell even noticed he had cracked the century mark in snaps
last week.</p>


"I said that to the guys on Monday and I said, 'You guys probably didn't
realize that,'" Fewell recalled, "and JPP said, 'Yeah, I did coach!'"</p>


Not that Pierre-Paul, who had two sacks and another negated by a replay
review, was complaining.</p>


"You know what he told the players? He said, 'We’re playing a lot of plays.
Man, we got to win this game,'" Fewell said of Pierre-Paul, who now has 15½
sacks on the season. "JPP, he goes 120 percent. I don’t know if he was counting
the plays or not, but he realized we were playing a lot of plays.</p>


"I think the other guys, they didn’t really realize it, but he did mention it
to somebody. He just kept going. He was the Energizer Bunny that day." Read more...
</p>
POLITI: GIANTS' PLAYOFF FUTURE MAY RIDE ON JUSTIN TUCK AS THEY FACE TONY ROMO AND THE COWBOYS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/politi_giants_playoff_future_c.html)

"Decades? Eons? Forever and a day? Justin Tuck was trying to explain how long
it feels like since the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) last made
the playoffs, and this is what he came up with before he realized he wasn’t
exactly driving home his point:


“It seems like years,” he said.</p>


Of course, it is years — two years, 11 months and 19 days since the
Giants last played in the postseason, to be exact. Or, since bigger numbers
always create the illusion of more time, more than 93 million seconds. Maybe
Tuck can save that number for next time, should the question come up again. </p>


Whatever. The point is this: When Tuck was standing up on that dais in
Glendale, Ariz., with the Lombardi Trophy in his hand and confetti falling from
the sky, he thought it was the beginning of something great. </p>


Instead, with just one playoff loss to the Eagles since then, he's still
waiting for more.</p>


“It seems longer than it’s actually been,” Tuck said, and after the year he’s
endured, with painful injuries literally from head to toe, he admits he wonders
how many more chances he’ll have like this. </p>


One game, in prime time, for the playoffs. That it comes against his least
favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, makes it even better. That it comes now, when
Tuck is finally starting to look like the Pro Bowl force on that defensive line
again, gives the Giants hope that the playoff drought will end this weekend.</p>


Yes, <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_win_37-34_in_last-secon.html">the
Giants beat the Cowboys</a> three weeks ago in Dallas with a still ineffective
Tuck, but lost in the euphoria of victory was just how easily quarterback Tony
Romo torched their defense that night. </p>


Pro-Football-Reference.com had an amazing statistic: Since 1960, only 71
quarterbacks had passed for more than 300 yards with four touchdowns and a
passer rating of 140.0 or higher. All 71 had played for the winning team — until
Romo, that is, became No. 72 and lost to the Giants.</p>


So one of two things will have to happen for the Giants to beat their rivals
for the NFC East title: </p>


1. They’ll have to score close to 40 points again and hope Eli Manning has
the ball in his hands when the game ends (or that Jason Pierre-Paul gets his on
another last-second field goal.) </p>


Or </p>


2. Tuck and the Giants defensive line will have to force Romo into mistakes —
which, despite his reputation for not being a clutch player, he’s avoided so far
in what’s been a stellar season. </p>


Romo has thrown for 3,895 yards with 29 touchdowns and only nine
interceptions — and most of those turnovers were in the first half of the
season. He comes to the Meadowlands with questions about his bruised hand, but
if the Giants want to play next weekend, they’ll need to batter the rest of his
body, too.</p>

That starts with Tuck. Pierre-Paul might be playing “at as high a level as
I’ve seen a defensive end play in a long time,” according to fellow defensive
end Osi Umenyiora, and Umenyiora is finally ready to return from his high ankle
sprain and take his turn rushing the passer.</p>


But there’s a reason defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Thursday “as
Tuck goes, we go.” When Tuck is at his best, the Giants are virtually
unblockable up front, which makes up for the considerable flaws everywhere else
on this defense. He looked like “Old Tuck” in the 29-14 victory over the Jets
last week, and everyone around him took turns punishing Mark Sanchez.</p>


Romo is better than Sanchez — we’re slipping that in just under the deadline
as Biggest Understatement of 2011 — and the Cowboys, unlike the Jets, have
receivers who can get open downfield. If Romo gets comfortable, the Giants might
be watching the postseason from their sofas again.</p>


“You never want to scoff at an opportunity,” Tuck said. “There are people in
this league who have played for a long time and have never had an opportunity to
see a playoff game. You never say, ‘We’ll get it next year’ because that’s not
necessarily the case.” </p>


Tuck, one of the few prominent holdovers from that Super Bowl XLII
championship, doesn’t want to wait for his next shot. In many ways, he has been
the embodiment of this Giants team: Spectacular at times and invisible at
others, alternately fantastic and frustrating.</p>


He has played through groin, neck, ankle and toe injuries, but admits the
mental part might be the toughest. “It’s frustrating, and I think I let the
frustrations get to me earlier in the year,” he said. “But at this point, you
just go out there and give what you have.”</p>


Which is what Tuck will do Sunday. He again declared his hatred for the
Cowboys — “What am I supposed to say?” he said. “That I want to play for them?”
— but he hates losing more. The reminders of that Super Bowl upset are
everywhere he looks on the walls at the Giants training complex, and no, they’re
not black and white photos. </p>


But it’s been years and it seems longer. That drought can end on Sunday. If
it does, and if this team does something in January, chances are it will be with
Tuck playing like it’s 2008 again." </p>GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA PRACTICED AGAIN, MAY PLAY SUNDAY (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_osi_umenyiora_practices.html)

Excerpt: "There aren’t many ways a pass rush can improve during the final week of the
regular season, let alone a unit that is coming off a dominant performance.


Last Saturday against the Jets, the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) wreaked havoc for 64 pass plays,
sacking Mark Sanchez five times and hitting him a host of others.</p>


But adding a former All-Pro defensive end may be one of the few ways to
improve, and the Giants are hoping to do so Sunday night when they face the
Dallas Cowboys with the NFC East title on the line.</p>


<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_osi_umenyiora_back_to_p.html">Osi
Umenyiora returned to practice Wednesday</a> for the first time since suffering
a high-ankle sprain Nov. 28 against the Saints, and though he was limited, he
didn’t suffer any setbacks or wake up with any swelling. He was limited again
today, but did more work than on Wednesday and from teammates’ accounts he is
practicing without a hitch. </p>


Still, Umenyiora and the Giants remain reluctant to say he’ll be in uniform
Sunday.</p>


“You’ve got to see what happens daily in terms of how he feels and where he’s
at and that type of thing,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “If he continues to
progress we’ll look forward to it. I’m not saying it will but I’m not going to
predict.”</p>


Umenyiora said he wouldn’t put himself in a position to play if he doesn’t
feel 100 percent, and for a pass rusher whose game is predicated on speed, he
said his ankle needs to be healed to be as effective as he has been in the
past.</p>


“We have so many good defensive players so I’m not going out there at 60
percent and take away what it is that they’re able to do,” Umenyiora said. </p>


“(I’ll do that) only if I’m able to go out there and be myself. I feel like
I’m still one of the very good defensive ends so as long as I’m able to go out
there and be myself then I’ll go out there.” Read more...
</p>GIANTS' CHRIS CANTY HOPING FOR A DIFFERENT FATE THAN HIS LAST GAME WITH THE COWBOYS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_chris_canty_hoping_for.html)

Excerpt: "Chris Canty was telling Antrel Rolle he feels different this year. He’s
fresh, he’s healthy and he’s ready to play a lot more football.


That hasn’t always been the case for the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)’ defensive tackle, particularly in
his last game with the Dallas Cowboys, a 44-6 blowout loss to the Philadelphia
Eagles in a 2008 Week 17 matchup to determine the final wild-card team.</p>


It was supposed to be a close game, and it was — for one quarter. But Philly
scored 24 unanswered points to close the first half and added a defensive
touchdown to start the third quarter to quickly make it a blowout victory.</p>


The Eagles then beat the Minnesota Vikings and Giants before nearly knocking
off the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.</p>


“We went into their place, they got on top of us early and the game just
snowballed out of control,” Canty said today. “You looked at the second half,
and guys were just pretty much thinking about their exit physicals, packing
their lockers up and shipping cars home. You could tell in the way guys were
playing they had kind of checked out — present company included.</p>


“The whole team, the mentality of the team would not allow us to be
successful in that type of environment, in that situation.”</p>


Now, Canty hopes the Giants can prevent the Cowboys from being successful in
a similar situation.</p>


The teams will meet Sunday night to determine this season’s NFC East champ.
It’s again expected to be a good game, though many of the banged-up Cowboys
surely recall how quickly things spiraled out of control three years ago on the
other end of the Turnpike.</p>


Even if they’re not willing to acknowledge it publicly.</p>


“It’s a big one. It’s huge,” was all linebacker Bradie James would say,
according to ESPNDallas.com, when pressed on the similarities between the games.
Wide receiver Miles Austin, who went to Garfield High and Monmouth University,
declined to answer such questions. Others spoke only in generalities.</p>


Canty, having experienced the downside, will remind his teammates of the
upside should they take an early lead in front of their fans." Read more...
</p>TONY ROMO WEARING PROTECTIVE WRAP OVER BRUISED THROWING HAND (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/tony_romo_wearing_protective_w.html)

"Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is practicing with more protection on his
bruised throwing hand.<div class="entry-content">


Romo came out of the locker room today wearing a protective wrap on his
swollen right hand. The wrap left his fingers and thumb free, and he made a few
soft tosses as practice began.</p>


<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/tony_romo_throwing_taking_snap.html">Romo
wasn't wearing anything on his hand</a> when throwing Wednesday.</p>


Romo, who banged his hand on a defender's helmet Saturday against
Philadelphia, has said he expects to play Sunday night when the Cowboys take on
the Giants with the NFC East title on the line."</p>GIANTS' BRANDON JACOBS: "COWBOYS' FANS GET ON MY NERVES" (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_brandon_jacobs_cowboys.html)

"Brandon Jacobs isn't one to bite his tongue. That was evidenced by last
week's war of words between he and the Jets that <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/ny_giants_silence_ny_jets_29-1.html">culminated
in a post-game verbal altercation with Rex Ryan</a>.<div class="entry-content">


Today, Jacobs said talk is "100 percent appropriate for me all the time," but
surprisingly he didn't have much to say about the Cowboys. That is, the team
itself. The team's fans were a whole other matter.</p>


"You know what it is? You’ve got a lot of people on other teams hating the
Cowboys. It’s their fans," Jacobs asserted. "Some of their fans are loud,
obnoxious and just bad. Just everywhere you go you’ve got them Dallas fans,
running their mouth about Dallas. They keep going. It’s not really the team and
the star and all that. They’re just like any other team in the National Football
League if you ask me. But their fans are the ones that have me really just
feeling the way I feel."</p>


Plenty is made of the fans in Philadelphia, but Jacobs thinks Cowboys
supporters take the cake.</p>


"Yeah, they are," Jacobs said when asked if Cowboys fans were worse. "I’m not
talking about being actually at the game and doing the type of stuff they do in
Philly. I’m just talking about in every day life. Cowboys fans get on my
nerves."</p>


Sunday night's game will be at home at MetLife Stadium, but the Cowboys are
"America's Team" and Jacobs knows they will be a good number in the crowd for
the battle for NFC East supremacy.</p>


"Oh there’s going to be a lot of them in, no question about it," Jacobs said.
"There’s going to be a bunch of them here. They’re going to have a lot of
support here. We’ve just got to go out there and do what we’ve got to do. It’s
still our home field."
</p></div>GIANTS' HAKEEM NICKS EXPECTS TO PRACTICE ON FRIDAY (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_hakeem_nicks_expects_to.html)

Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks said he did some striding and backpedaling today to see if he’d
“notice” his injured hamstring.


So, did he?</p>


“Yeah, I can’t lie,” the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants)’ wide
receiver said today after sitting out practice but doing light work on the side.
“This ain’t something that’s just going to go away overnight. It’s still there.
But can I play with it?”</p>


Nicks never got around to finishing that response because a reporter nearly
got whacked in the head with a camera as the media made a mad dash to Osi
Umenyiora’s locker. But the answer was likely going to be “yes.”</p>


After all, Nicks believes he’ll practice on Friday.</p>


“Some 7-on-7 plays and what not. See how it feels,” he said. “I wouldn’t want
to just go out on Sunday and test it out. I want to know, at least from a
standpoint, where I’ll be (physically) so I can prepare myself mentally.” Read more...
</p><font size="4"><u>NY DAILY NEWS</u></font>
</div><font size="4"><font size="3">
WHO HAS THE MATCHUP EDGE WHEN THE DALLAS COWBOYS VISIT THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS FOR THE NFC EAST TITLE AND A PLAYOFF BERTH? (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/matchup-edge-ny-giants-battle-dallas-cowboys-nfc-east-division-title-a-playoff-berth-article-1.998713)

"</font></font>WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL<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">


QUARTERBACK vs. DEFENSIVE SCHEME</p>


Although Eli Manning (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eli+Manning) comes off
his two worst statisticaformances (51.9 passer rating) of the season, he has lit
up the Cowboys throughout his entire career.

Manning delights in beating
the Cowboys with big plays and, next to Aaron Rodgers (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Aaron+Rodgers), he is
the most accurate deep passer in the league. He's fearless, and that puts
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rob+Ryan) in a
dilemma.

Ryan's pressure packages have been less effective as the season
has gone on. Unable to rely on DeMarcus Ware (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/DeMarcus+Ware) alone,
Ryan can take too many risks, perhaps to cover up his deficiencies in the back,
and his blitzes haven't been efficient, leaving his DBs in man coverage. That’s
a dangerous game to play against a seasoned quarterback such as Manning, who has
excellent presence and the ability to move up in the pocket.

The matchup
gets more lopsided in the fourth quarter, as it did in Arlington, where Manning
beat Ryan's blitzing tactics for his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the
season. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have blown fourth-quarter leads in five of their
seven defeats. They have allowed 69 unanswered points combined in those
losses.

EDGE: Giants.</p>


WIDE RECEIVERS &amp; TIGHT ENDS vs. SECONDARY</p>


Coverage problems, especially late in games, have done in the Cowboys all
season. Their best DB, cornerback Mike Jenkins (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mike+Jenkins), has been
playing through a variety of injuries while Terence Newman (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Terence+Newman) has
gone downhill in a hurry on the other side. Newman has been giving a lot of
cushion at the line, but he doesn't close well on the ball and has lousy
hands.

It's been so concerning that some in Dallas have called for Orlando Scandrick (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Orlando+Scandrick)
to start in Newman's place.

Mario Manningham (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mario+Manningham)'s
absence has slowed the Giants passing attack, but he should be back. His quick
feet will give Newman problems.

The only knocks on Hakeem Nicks (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Hakeem+Nicks) and <a title="Victor Cruz" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz">Victor
Cruz</a> this year have been their drops. Cruz, who makes up in quickness what
he lacks in speed, sometimes loses concentration. Nicks' recent drops have been
more mysterious because he has good hands. Stranded on Revis Island (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Darrelle+Revis) last
week, Nicks will have to make those catches when he gets open
Sunday.

Neither Cowboy safety is a particularly great cover guy and
they've had their communications issues, leading to big plays. With Ballard
probably out, the Giants won't have much of a tight end threat
again.

EDGE: Giants.
</p>RUNNING BACKS vs. LINEBACKERS<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 Giants are still last in the league in yards rushing per game (88.1) but
they've improved their production as of late, especially since the return of Ahmad Bradshaw (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ahmad+Bradshaw). He
and Brandon Jacobs (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brandon+Jacobs) have
been running with authority and match up well against this group of
LBs.

Bradie James (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bradie+James) and Keith Brooking (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Keith+Brooking) have
been showing their age. Sean Lee (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Sean+Lee), who will play
after tweaking his hamstring in the second half of last week's game, is an
active presence. He's the only Cowboys LB who doesn't struggle in pass coverage.
His nifty INT of Manning in the first game was a thing of beauty. Lee is also a
little undersized. The more physical a game the Giants can make it, the better
their chances. The more the Giants can force Ryan to bring in his safeties, the
more isolated the Giants' wide receivers will be.

EDGE: Giants.</p>


OFFENSIVE LINE vs. DEFENSIVE FRONT</p>


DeMarcus Ware, who will play with a neck stinger, may be the best defensive
player in the league, but against the Giants, he's been no more than average.
Ware, along with the rest of his teammates, failed to sack Manning in the first
matchup.

The Giants controlled Ware with David Diehl (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Diehl) and with
help, although the absence of TE Jake Ballard (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jake+Ballard) would
make that more difficult on Sunday. Ryan will also flop Ware to the other side
against Kareem McKenzie (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kareem+McKenzie),
who has had problems with speed rushers off the edge.

Outside of Ware,
the Cowboys haven't been able to produce much of a pass rush with the front line
alone.

C David Baas (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Baas) missed the
first game, but it's debatable whether the Giants ran the ball better in his
absence, with Kevin Boothe (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kevin+Boothe) at center
and Mitch Petrus (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mitch+Petrus) at guard.
Baas also faces a tough matchup in Jay Ratliffe (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jay+Ratliffe), the
Cowboys' Pro Bowl nose tackle.

EDGE: Even.
</p>WHEN THE COWBOYS HAVE THE BALL<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">


QUARTERBACK vs. DEFENSIVE SCHEME:</p>


<a title="Tony Romo" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tony+Romo">Tony
Romo</a> had a career day against the Giants three weeks ago, with four TDs, no
INTs and a 141.3 passer rating. But he lost, missing a fourth-quarter hookup
with a wide-open Miles Austin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Miles+Austin) that
would have put the game away. That's the thing with Romo. He seldom completely
satisfies.

What Romo has done since early in the year is cut back on his
risk-taking and his mistakes (no INTs in seven of last eight starts). While
he'll be facing a fired-up Giants defense coming off a tremendous game vs. the
Jets, that effort might be deceiving. Consider that Perry Fewell (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Perry+Fewell)'s defense
has gone up against the Cowboys three times (one with Jon Kitna (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jon+Kitna) at QB) and
allowed an average of 34 points per game.

Romo's bruised hand may be more
of an issue than the Cowboys are letting on, in which case, Dallas' chances are
nil. Assuming the hand is OK, it's going to come down to the Giants pass rush
getting to him before he can get at the secondary. Fewell played a lot of
man-under, Cover 2 the first time and when the safeties unwisely jumped routes,
Romo beat them for big plays. Fewell simplified the approach against the Jets
and called for fewer switches, but Mark Sanchez (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mark+Sanchez) can't
compare to Romo in his ability to get the ball downfield.

EDGE:
Cowboys.</p>


WIDE RECEIVERS &amp; TIGHT ENDS vs. SECONDARY</p>


It's a potential catastrophe here for the Giants if Romo gets time. The
Cowboys have three dangerous WRs plus an elite TE matched up against a barely
mediocre secondary that has the Giants ranked 27th in the league against the
pass. Poor tackling and blown coverages continued up until last week.

The
Giants were obviously worried about Dez Bryant (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Dez+Bryant) burning them
in the first game and he finally did against a blown coverage late. By putting
their best cover corner, Corey Webster (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Corey+Webster), on
Bryant and giving him some safety help, the Giants allowed third receiver Laurent Robinson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Laurent+Robinson)
to run wild on overmatched rookie Prince Amukamara (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Prince+Amukamara)
while Aaron Ross (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Aaron+Ross+%28Football%29)
had his hands full with Austin, who consistently got a step on him off the
line.

Robinson may have become Romo's most trusted option because he's a
more reliable route runner than the explosive but inconsistent
Bryant.

Then there is the Jason Witten (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jason+Witten) factor,
which wasn't fully exploited in the first game. Witten's production is down this
year but he's a gamer and, because the Giants LBs lack cover skills, they have
been burned by TEs all year.

Here's a stat the Giants can't repeat: Romo
was 11-for-17 for 211 yards and a TD out of spread formations in the first
meeting.

EDGE: Cowboys.
</p>RUNNING BACKS vs. LINEBACKERS<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">


In the first game, electrifying rookie DeMarco Murray (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/DeMarco+Murray) was
gaining five yards a carry before breaking his ankle. The Cowboys didn't miss
him. Felix Jones (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Felix+Jones) came in off
the bench and averaged 6.6 the rest of the game.

This time could be
different. Jones has a tight hamstring and while he should play, he may not up
to carrying the workhorse load that could be needed. The Giants are big up
front. Jones, more of a speed back than the cutback artist Murray was, needs
daylight to be successful.

Luckily for the Cowboys, running back after
running back has had success against this group of LBs, which is led by veteran
Michael Boley (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Michael+Boley) and
journeyman Chase Blackburn (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chase+Blackburn).
The Giants rank 22nd against the run, allowing 4.5 yards per carry.
In
general, the Cowboys' running game is based on the counter play, with a lot of
movement and pulling, and it had the Giants linebackers out of position last
time. Do not underestimate what having a healthy fullback Tony Fiammetta (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tony+Fiammetta) means
to the Cowboys. The guy can block.

EDGE: Cowboys.</p>



OFFENSIVE LINE vs. DEFENSIVE FRONT</p>


This is where the game will be won or lost.

The Cowboys offensive line
has been inconsistent at best, vulnerable at worst, while the Giants pass rush
has been coming on.

All-Pro rookie Jason Pierre-Paul (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jason+Pierre-Paul)
was a monster in the first game. He dominated former Pro Bowler LT <a title="Doug Free" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Doug+Free">Doug
Free</a> for two sacks, a forced fumble and a safety, even blocking the FG that
would have sent the game into OT.

Justin Tuck (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Justin+Tuck) came alive
against the Jets last week, especially after the Jets went to a spread formation
in the second half. Tuck, however, has a much tougher assignment on Sunday when
he'll be going up against the Cowboys' best pass blocker, rookie Tryon
Smith.
It remains to be seen if Osi Umenyiora (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Osi+Umenyiora) will be
available, but that would give the Giants a great opportunity to play off the
success other teams have had pressuring the interior of the Cowboys' O-line,
where Phil Costa (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Phil+Costa) is a
liability. The Cowboys will be without LG Montrae Holland (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Montrae+Holland).
Journeyman Derrick Dockery (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Derrick+Dockery),
more of a plugger, replaces him. Both Chris Canty (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chris+Canty) and Linval Joseph (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Linval+Joseph) are
capable of collapsing the pocket and Tuck can be moved inside.

EDGE:
Giants.</p>



SPECIAL TEAMS</p>


The Giants, who have had a history of special-teams screw-ups in big spots,
have cleaned up that area this year. It was special-teams play — Pierre-Paul's
block — that sealed the win in Arlington. It was the second straight week where
a timeout froze Dan Bailey (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Dan+Bailey) or this game
would be meaningless and the Cowboys would be in the playoffs. Bailey has been
money otherwise, but you'd have to wonder what be going through his head if he's
lining up for a game-winner on Sunday.

Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Lawrence+Tynes) has
been in big games before. Steve Weatherford (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Steve+Weatherford)
has corrected the Giants punting issues from last year although he had an off
day kicking against the Jets. Cowboys punter Mat McBriar (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mat+McBriar) has
had a good year.

The Giants may not have an explosive return game but
their coverage has been better. Dez Bryant's speed remains an area of
concern.

EDGE: Even.</p>


PREDICTION</p>


Giants 34-30. Manning continues his mastery of Cowboys as Big Blue returns to
playoffs for first time in three years."</p>

DALLAS COWBOYS SHOUOLD NO LONGER BE REFERRED TO AS AMERICA'S TEAM (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/dallas-cowboys-longer-referred-america-team-article-1.998705)</p>

Excerpt: "There needs to be an expiration date on the Cowboys being known as America’s
Team. And it needs to be soon.</p>

How ’bout them Cowboys? Yeah, How about them?

They have not been to
the Super Bowl in nearly 16 years. It was their third title in four years when
they beat the Steelers following the 1995 season, but they have won just two
playoff games since – wild-card victories in 1996 and 2009.</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">


Eleven other NFC teams have been to the Super Bowl since 1995. The 49ers,
Redskins, Lions and Vikings are the only other NFC teams that have failed to get
into the big game since Super Bowl XXX. It’s the Cowboys’ longest Super Bowl
drought in their history.</p>


The Patriots have been to a staggering five Super Bowls since ’95. The
Packers have been to three, while the Giants and Rams have been to two apiece.
Even the Bucs, Cardinals and Saints, three of the NFL’s all-time losingest
teams, have made it to the Super Bowl since Dallas’ last appearance.</p>


If this is America’s Team, America deserves better.</p>


“I don’t know if they ever deserved to be America’s Team,” Giants defensive
end Justin Tuck (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Justin+Tuck) said on
Thursday, just a few days away from the NFC East Championship Game on Sunday
night at MetLife Stadium. “I don’t have a vote on that. The only people that it
rubs the wrong way are the people who don’t root for them.”</p>


Blame NFL Films. They titled the Cowboys’ 1978 highlight film “America’s
Team.” Cowboys president Tex Schramm (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tex+Schramm), one of the
great innovators in NFL history and a marketing genius, embraced the flattering
nickname and ran with it. Who wouldn’t?</p>


The Cowboys helped change the image of Dallas after it was known for being
the city where President John Kennedy (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Kennedy)
was assassinated in 1963. The Cowboys’ star replaced the Texas School Book
Depository and the grassy knoll as the symbols of Big D.</p>


The Cowboys were style and substance, and cheerleaders and the stadium with
the hole in the roof, which Cowboys fans said was designed so God could look
down on their team.</p>


The Cowboys did a lot of winning – five Super Bowl titles in eight
appearances. Only the Steelers ( six) have more Super Bowl titles. Nobody has
been in the game more than the Cowboys, even if they have failed to make the
last 15." Read more...
</p></div>COWBOYS BLITZ EMMITT OVER COMMENTS (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/dallas-cowboys-blitz-emmitt-smith-comments-article-1.998691)

Excerpt: "Emmitt Smith (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Emmitt+Smith) knows a
thing or two about the type of “mental toughness” it takes to march into the
Meadowlands and help beat the Giants with the NFC East title hanging in the
balance.


The former Dallas great just isn’t sure if Tony Romo (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tony+Romo) and the current
Cowboys have what it takes.</p>


“Can they go up to New York and be mentally tough in that situation?” Smith
said on ESPN early Thursday. “I think Jason (Garrett) has done a very good job
of preparing the guys to be physically and mentally tough, but I think mental
toughness is the thing needed in games like this.”</p>


Smith, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, played
the second half with a separated shoulder as the Cowboys beat the Giants, 16-13,
in overtime to win the NFC East on Jan. 2 1994.</p>


Romo, who is planning to play with a severely bruised throwing hand when the
Cowboys and Giants battle for the NFC East crown at MetLife Stadium Sunday
night, pointed to wins in San Francisco and Washington earlier this season as
proof that Smith’s criticism was off base.</p>


“We had a big game at San Francisco earlier in the year. It felt like a
must-win at that time, and we went out there and laid it on the line, and the
team won, and we were trailing late in that game,” Romo said. “So there was a
lot of mental toughness in that game. I think we went up to Washington in a game
that was big for us there and showed a lot of mental toughness there. This
football team just has a way of keep coming back and keep grinding.”</p>


Romo, who bruised his right hand last week against the Eagles, says he will
not change his throwing motion to protect the hand, and isn’t planning to wear a
bandage. Nor, he says, is he worried about the Giants pass rush.</p>


“I think you just play the game and you don’t think about that stuff,” Romo
said Thursday. “I think every game, the (defensive) line is trying to get to the
quarterback, so it won’t be any different.”</p>


Romo practiced on Thursday without the black glove that he had sported the
day before. Instead, he wore a thin white wrap around the injured hand. Backup
Stephen McGee (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Stephen+McGee)
received first-team action, but Garrett said Romo did “a little bit more” in
practice, and wideout Laurent Robinson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Laurent+Robinson)
noticed more “zip” on the QB’s passes." Read more...
</p>
</div></div></div></div><u><font size="4">NY POST</font></u>
<div><div>
GIANTS' WR HAKEEM NICKS ON TRACK TO FACE COWBOYS (http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/giantsblog/giants_wr_nicks_on_track_to_face_eWbPZk1BxKtf3KkiZ xoAkL)

Excerpt: "Working in practice Friday, Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said he did not
feel like his ailing hamstring caused him many problems.<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">


“Did some cuts, in and out. Bursted a little bit,” said Nicks, who did not
practice Wednesday or Thursday. “It’s a matter of me knowing it’s there, but it
wasn’t limiting me at all out there.”</p>


Nicks is listed as probable for Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys at
MetLife Stadium, and he has said he plans on playing. The third-year player has
done well against the Cowboys the previous three times he’s faced them, making
22 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns. In the Giants’ 37-34 win in Dallas
three weeks ago, Nicks had eight catches for 163 yards.</p>


“I think today in practice, that was the test to see where I’m really at. I
handled it pretty good. There weren’t any setbacks. Looking forward to Sunday
night,” he said. “I pushed it to the fact to where I would at least have an idea
of where I would be at on certain routes and certain plays. But there weren’t
any setbacks. That’s a good thing.” Read more...
</p></div>COWBOYS' RYAN BRINGS FAMILY TO SEE "WHEN WE WIN THE EAST" (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/cowboys_ryan_brings_family_east_GCR6yruCu8ln3wN0R9 5RcM)

"The family of Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is already in New York
to do some sightseeing before Sunday's NFC East showdown game with the
Giants.<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">


Ryan left no doubt that the biggest sight to see will be at MetLife
Stadium.</p>


“I want them to be there when we win the East, and I’ll probably steal a
couple of [championship] T-shirts and make sure they get them, because that’s
what we’re there for,” Ryan said Friday at the Cowboys practice facility.</p>


Ryan is the fraternal twin brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan. The Ryans
share a certain bravado in addition to DNA as Rob Ryan all but guaranteed a
victory for his family.</p>


“I know they’re going to see the Empire State Building, probably see their
Uncle Rex and Cousin Matthew [Russo, a retired FDNY fire marshal],” Ryan said.
“But they’re there to watch their dad become a champion, again. So that’s what
we’re going to do.”
</p></div>
##

GIANTS EAGER TO RETURN TO POST SEASON (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/giants_out_to_silence_boys_SWi9jQkEsxQslyhKkP4mAO)

Excerpt: "Please, not again.<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">


Deon Grant cannot put exactly into words what it felt like a year ago and has
no desire to jog his memory. </p>


“Whatever it was, I’m not trying to re-visit it,’’ Grant said yesterday.</p>


No, none of the Giants wants any part of revisiting what has come over the
franchise the past two years. There’s a prize out there awaiting the winner of
Sunday night’s NFC East title game, with either the Giants or Cowboys claiming
first place and the No. 4 seed in the NFC for the playoffs. The loser gets
nothing.</p>


“When you’re sitting at home, it’s the most disgusting feeling because you
put in all that hard work and feel like it didn’t pay off,’’ Grant said. “To be
sent home means you don’t want to watch any more football. To not be sent home
is what you put in all the work in the preseason and training
camp.’’</p>

Justin Tuck said it “seems like years’’ since the Giants made it into the
playoffs, then corrected himself, slightly. </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">


“It is years,’’ he said, “but it seems a lot longer than it actually
has been.’’</p>


It has been three years, to be exact. The Giants squandered the No. 1 seed in
the conference following the 2008 season, losing their first playoff game, at
home, to the Eagles and it’s been cold, lonely winters ever since. An 8-8 finish
in 2009 was followed by a 10-6 season that left the Giants with a nice record
and a seat on the couch come playoff time.</p>


Despite more bumps in the road than the sparsely-paved Cross Bronx
Expressway, the Giants at 8-7 have the ability to wipe away all their
consistency if they can achieve what they haven’t been able to accomplish since
the first week of November: Actually win back-to-back games. The Giants saved
their season with last week’s 29-14 humbling of the Jets and now take on a
Cowboys team that they beat, barely, 37-34 three weeks ago in Dallas.</p>


“We lost four in a row and still own our own destiny,’’ Tuck said. “In this
league that’s fortunate.’’</p>


Good fortune has sparked the desperation that comes from not being able to
stomach falling short. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora has worked himself into a
comeback after missing the past four games with a high ankle sprain. </p>


“It’s just so funny how things work out,’’ said Umenyiora, who expects to
play. “This is obviously the biggest game of our season, the biggest game we’ve
had here for a long time.’’ Read more...
</p></div>

GIANTS' NICKS SAYS "I'M PLAYING" AGAINST THE COWBOYS (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/ailing_nicks_on_status_vs_boys_playing_2CpQIVUfXwx bm4ccuppKiL)
</p></div>Excerpt: "Giants wide receiver<a class="topiclink" href="/t/Hakeem_Nicks"> Hakeem Nicks
</a>knows his hamstring isn’t close to full strength, but it is not going to
prevent him from playing in Sunday’s winner-take-all game against the Cowboys,
with first place in the NFC East on the line, the playoffs for the winner and
elimination for the loser.<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">


“I have no doubt in my mind, I’m playing,’’ Nicks said yesterday. “I know
that. It’s all or nothing.’’ Read more...</p>COUGHLIN EXPECTS TO RETURN TO GIANTS (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/no_tom_limit_YThQ6TdEKFT6261ngJOkUM)

"It is the very last thing on Tom Coughlin’s mind, because there is the small
matter of the NFC East title showdown Sunday night against the Cowboys.<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">


“Can I take care of this week and this game first?” he asks. “Why do we have
to ask that question?”</p>


Coughlin is walking, his limp from his sideline mishap mostly gone, from the
indoor practice facility back to the Timex Performance Center to get back to his
preparation for the Cowboys. </p>


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


Before I can remind him that his future is a widely discussed topic around
these parts, he tells me: “Yeah, I do.” </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">


You do?</p>


“Sure,” he says. “I do.”</p>


Have you gotten indication that you will?</p>


“No,” Coughlin said.</p>


Then why do you expect to?</p>


“I just expect to,” he said. “That’s the nature of the business. I don’t see
any reason why I wouldn’t.”</p>


The Tom Must Go crowd would argue that, if he loses, it will be three
straight years out of the playoffs. That, if he loses, he will have presided
over another second-half collapse.</p>


That Eli Manning is having a career year.</p>


I don’t have the time to give him their argument.</p>


“Let’s talk about this after the game,” Coughlin said. </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">


I managed to get in a couple of last questions: Do you still (at age 65) have
the same passion for this job that you’ve always had?</p>


“Yes, I do!” Coughlin said. “Sure, I do. I wouldn’t be doing it.”</p>


And you plan on doing it for a while.</p>


“We’ll talk after the game,” he said again.</p>


You want to coach this team next year, correct?</p>


“Yeah,” Coughlin said.</p>


And from what I have been able to gather, most of his key players, starting
with Manning, want him to coach them next year.</p>


“I think it’s gonna be his decision,” Justin Tuck told The Post. “If he wants
to be back, I think he’s gonna be back.”</p>


Why do you think it’s his decision?</p>


“I don’t know ... he’s 65 years old, maybe he wants to do something
different,” Tuck said. “If Coach Coughlin wants to be back, I think he has that
choice to be back.</p>


“You never know what’s going on as far as what his thought process is, but I
don’t see a reason to fire him, I guess. But I don’t get paid to make those
decisions.”</p>


Even if the team doesn’t make the playoffs?</p>


“I don’t get paid to make those decisions,” Tuck said. “I think he’s done the
best job he can do considering some of the shortcomings we’ve had injury-wise,
personnel-wise.”</p>


Tuck has no inkling what the Giants decision-makers are thinking.</p>


“My sense is guys enjoy playing for Coach Coughlin,” Tuck said. “We have our
disagreements, just like any other team. I think a lot of times fans or media,
whoever else, kind of misunderstand the fact that just because he’s your head
coach doesn’t mean he’s gonna be your best friend.”</p>


Or father-in-law. </p>


“As far as preparing us for week in and week out, I’ve only had one high
school coach and one college coach,” said son-in-law Chris Snee, who has had
only one NFL coach since being drafted in 2004. “But I’m saying — I don’t think
anyone could prepare us better for games every week, and not just the
relationship with him but the relationship with all the other coaches that I
have and the other guys have. You want to stick together as long as
possible.”</p>


To Snee, Tom Coughlin is no 65-year-old father-in-law at work. He’s a head
coach whose energy belies his age.</p>


“He’s out there chirping and running around just like he’s a 40-year-old,”
Snee said."</p></div></div>GIANTS' BRANDON JACOBS CALLS COWBOYS' FANS LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS (http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/giantsblog/giants_jacobs_call_cowboys_fans_9JPX8vLqH6VZ25aijX FYhO)
</div></div>
Excerpt: "How about those Cowboys … fans?<div>


That’s the major problem Brandon Jacobs has with the team that stands in the
way of the Giants winning the NFC East and making the playoffs. </p>


The Giants, especially Justin Tuck, aren’t shy about expressing their hatred
of the Cowboys. Now Jacobs explains why he isn’t a big fan: Because of the
Cowboys fans.</p>


“The reason that a lot of guys on opposing teams hate the Cowboys is their
fans,’’ Jacobs said Thursday afternoon. “So many of their fans are loud and
obnoxious. Everywhere you go you got some Dallas fans and they’re just like
running their mouth about Dallas and keep going. It’s not really the team and
the star and all that because they’re just like any other team in the National
Football League, but their fans are the ones who have me feeling the way I feel.
That’s my issue.”</p>


Throughout the NFC East and the NFL, Eagles fans are renowned as perhaps the
most difficult group to deal with, but Jacobs ranks Cowboys fans at the top of
the heap.</p>


“I’m not talking about being a fan of the team and going out actually at the
game and doing the type of stuff they do in Philly,’’ Jacobs explained. “I’m
just talking about in everyday life, Cowboys fans get on my
nerves.”
</p></div>GIANTS' OSI UMENYIORA PRACTICES AGAIN (http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/giantsblog/giants_osi_practices_again_ready_T2YTCy5j6ab4Oh8o7 XW1VJ)

"Osi Umenyiora knows exactly what he is.<div>


“I’m not a power rusher or any of that,’’ the Giants defensive end said
Thursday afternoon. “My thing is speed and if I don’t have that I’m not going to
be able to go.’’</p>


Clearly, Umenyiora believes he has his speed back after missing the past four
games with a high ankle sprain. He’s determined to play in Sunday’s playoff
elimination game against the Cowboys.</p>


“I feel like I can help,’ Umenyiora said, “and that’s exactly what I plan on
doing.’’</p>


Umenyiora for the first time in a month got back on the practice field
Wednesday but said he did much more to test his ankle Thursday. So far, so good.
The pass rusher would not say if he will play in the game, deferring that
announcement to coach Tom Coughlin, but made it clear what is going to happen
this weekend.</p>


“My gut feeling? We’re not really allowed to answer questions like that,’’
Umenyiora said. “I have to defer to coach Coughlin about that.’’</p>


Umenyiora then smiled and whispered, “Yes.’’</p>


Umenyiora has seven sacks in the eight games he’s played this season but said
he should not start at right defensive end in place of Jason Pierre-Paul, who as
a replacement has 15 1/2 sacks and earlier this week was named to his first Pro
Bowl. </p>


Pierre-Paul turns 23 on Sunday and said he’d like to start.</p>


“He deserves to be the starter, there’s no question about it,’’ Umenyiora
said. “The guys playing at as high a level at defensive end as I’ve seen in a
long time and I’ve been here a long time. He deserves to be the starter.
Whatever this team needs for me to do, whether that’s come in and spot him or
(Justin) Tuck, whatever they need me to do I’ll do, I don’t have a problem with
that.’’</p>


Umenyiora said, “I don’t expect to play a whole bunch of plays but when I’m
in there I’m gonna come as hard as I can.’’ </p>


He said he considers himself fortunate to be able to return in time for the
most critical game of the season after initially fearing he might not play
again.</p>


“I thought so, honestly, for a while,’’ Umenyiora said. “Everybody who’s had
the same type of high ankle sprain that I’ve had has told me it’s a 4-6 week
recovery time,. I’ve seen other guys who had the same injury try to come back,
like a Sam Bradford and Ben Roethlisberger, it just seemed they were completely
off, so I was concerned about that. After last week things started to improve a
little bit and hopefully everything will work out for me on
Sunday.’’</p></div>HAKEEM NICKS, GIANTS' WIDE RECEIVER, HAS "NO DOUBT" HE'LL PLAY AGAINST DALLAS (http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/giantsblog/giants_nicks_tests_strained_hamstring_f6xwmcVuZ2Uh 2EY4m5jRjO)

"Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said he’s is playing in Sunday’s
winner-take-all game against the Cowboys, with first place in the NFC East on
the line, the playoffs for the winner and elimination for the loser.<div>


“I have no doubt in my mind, I’m playing,’’ Nicks said Thursday. “I know
that. It’s all or nothing.’’</p>


Nicks, dealing with a strained hamstring, did some running on the side inside
the fieldhouse while the Giants practiced. Nicks even did a few backpedals,
though he rested and tested his strained hamstring, not participating in any
aspect of practice.</p>


This is no surprise at all. Nicks on Wednesday said he would not push himself
for a few days, hoping to strengthen his hamstring as much as possible, and
hoped to get on the field in some capacity Friday. </p>


“We just wanted to see where it was at by just striding it out a little bit,
it was all right,’’ Nicks said. “It’s a situation where you know it’s gonna be
there, it ain’t gonna just eventually go overnight. Just a matter of me playing
with it. Luckily I played with it before, I finished last game with it, just got
to make sure I take care of it and have no setbacks at this point.’’</p>


Nicks has been bothered by hamstring issues since the second week of the
season. He missed the Nov. 6 victory in New England because the hamstring was
fully strained and he re-injured the hamstring late in the first quarter of last
week’s victory over the Jets. Nicks stayed in the game, got his hamstring
wrapped at halftime, but was not effective at all, with one catch for 20 yards.
He said he could not get off the line of scrimmage with any consistency and his
ailing leg did not allow him to run any deep routes.</p>


“I know what I’m working with now,’’ Nicks said. “We know how to game-plan
around it or within it, hopefully it won’t limit my game, hopefully it won’t
limit my burst and I’ll be able to get down the field and make plays for us.
It’s a matter of playing with it and being tough, gutting it out.’’</p>


The other hurting offensive player, tight end Jake Ballard, did not practice.
He did make an appearance on the field, standing in place and catching a few
passes during one drill, but he was not wearing pads and was going to sit out
practice again. </p>


Ballard is trying to fast-forward the healing process after partially tearing
the posterior cruciate lig

daynemustgo
12-30-2011, 11:31 AM
enjoy the game RF...hopefully, it's one to remember.

RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 11:41 AM
enjoy the game RF...hopefully, it's one to remember.

It will be a game that makes us all prouD to be fans of the NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANT

GameTime
12-30-2011, 11:47 AM
Safe ride up and Go Big Blue....</P>


Gotta Kick some Cowpie butt!!!!</P>


</P>

NY_Eli
12-30-2011, 12:01 PM
Thanks RF! The nfc east belongs to the giants, time to claim what's rightfully theirs!

lttaylor56
12-30-2011, 12:28 PM
We will claim what's ours. Our defense will play lights out Sunday night!

BigBlue1971
12-30-2011, 12:58 PM
thanks much Roanoke! [B]</P>


enjoy the game and happy New Year!</P>

RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 10:30 PM
thanks much Roanoke! [B]</p>


enjoy the game and happy New Year!</p>

[Y]

RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 10:31 PM
thanks much Roanoke! [B]</p>


enjoy the game and happy New Year!</p>

[B]

RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 10:36 PM
We will claim what's ours. Our defense will play lights out Sunday night!

We are getting healthier at the right time.

RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 10:39 PM
Thanks RF! The nfc east belongs to the giants, time to claim what's rightfully theirs!

[Y] [Y]

RoanokeFan
12-30-2011, 10:40 PM
Safe ride up and Go Big Blue....</p>


Gotta Kick some Cowpie butt!!!!</p>


</p>

ALL IN is going to carry the day!