ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during play against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Giants went hot and then, in an instant, ice cold. The win in Arlington would be their second in a run of five straight to open the season; the team seemed unstoppable, running through the bottom feeders of the AFC West on their way to 5-0. After that, the proverbial worm turned on New York.
The G-Men will welcome the Cowboys into the Meadowlands the owners of a 6-5 record, after dropping all but one of their last six contests, in third place in the NFC East, a division once firmly in their grasp. Writers around New York are calling the game a must-win and, with the month of December under way, it's hard to argue that it's not.
Dallas has gone on a run in the opposite direction, winning six of their last seven games following a week 4 loss at Denver that sent them to 2-2. The Cowboys now lead their division, and have the best scoring defense in the NFC, surrendering just 16.5 points per game.
"We lost by a short margin," Wade Phillips said after that loss. "If we cut [turnovers] down certainly and certainly make some more on defense, we can win those kind of games. We can see that."
Dallas has righted this wrong in the weeks since...kind of. Tony Romo threw three interceptions in the September loss to New York; he has thrown just four since, while stacking up 13 touchdown passes. As far as the defense creating turnovers, well, that's one area that could stand some improvement on an otherwise solid unit. The Cowboys are tied for last in the NFL with 13 takeaways.
"We're a totally different team than what we showed that first game," said safety Gerald Sensabaugh. "We'll play a lot better."