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Cowboys, Giants Have Much in Common

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    NEWSLETTERS

    One of the biggest knocks on both the Cowboys and the Giants this season has been their inability to put forth consistent performances from week to week.

    The Cowboys have veered from miraculous comebacks to thudding collapses while also finding themselves on both sides of blowouts. The Giants struggled to beat bad teams throughout the first half, knocked off the Patriots, got humiliated by the Saints and then pushed the Packers closer to a loss than any other team this season. It was enough to make Justin Tuck wonder if a psychiatrist was needed to diagnose what's wrong with the team.

    Medical attention probably isn't necessary because neither team is as erratic as it might seem. The results differ from week to week, obviously, but the cause isn't really inconsistency. Just the opposite, actually.

    Both teams find themselves in a fight for their playoff lives because there problems appear just as consistently as their strengths. Those problems make it very difficult for either team to impose its will on games as their flaws leave them open to attack from the opposition. That, and not some mystical special sauce, is why the team's results have been unpredictable so far this season.

    Some of those flaws exist on both sides. Both teams have done a poor job of stopping the run this season, something that makes it very easy for the opposition to move the ball and control the clock without exposing them to the offensive weapons that both teams have at their disposal.

    Beyond that, both defenses are reliant on a handful of good pass rushers with a soft underbelly. Teams can act to neutralize DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Pierre-Paul and Tuck, opening up all sorts of avenues of attack that wind up putting points on the board. Furthermore, each team has just one good cover guy in their secondary so good quarterbacks will always have a place to go with the ball. 

    Those shortcomings make it very hard to play anything other than close games, something that both teams have specialized in this season. As much as we'd like to believe that some teams just have a knack when it comes to winning games like that, the truth is that close scores lead to fickle outcomes and records that hover right around .500 over the course of a season.

    Similarities like that should make for quite a game on Sunday night, just don't be surprised if it goes down to the final play.