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Place: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The Dallas Cowboys seemed to make a statement with a season-opening win over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Since then, it has been the Giants making the statements on the field. New York enters the rematch in first place in the NFC East and riding a three-game winning streak.
Eli Manning pulled off his 24th career fourth-quarter comeback in a win over the Washington Redskins last Sunday but will be taking on a Cowboys secondary that is the strength of the defense.
That unit is coming off a strong performance against the Carolina Panthers but could be under more strain with linebacker Sean Lee’s absence weakening the front seven.
Lee, the team’s leading tackler, was placed on injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his toe. Dallas will be trying to beat the Giants at home for the first time since opening its new stadium.
New York Giants (5-2): New York has taken three straight at Cowboys Stadium and Manning is 5-2 in his last seven starts against the Cowboys. But one of those two setbacks came in the season opener, when the Giants were held to 269 total yards and the defense was burned for a pair of long touchdown passes by Tony Romo.
Manning tried for some fourth-quarter magic and managed to cut it to 24-17 with a touchdown pass but could not get the ball back in the final 2:36. That would have been plenty of time for the Super Bowl MVP, who needed only two plays to hit Victor Cruz with the 77-yard game-winning touchdown last weekend. Manning threw for 400 yards at Dallas in 2011, leading a pair of touchdown drives in the final 3:41 to pull out the 37-34 triumph. The New York defense had some trouble with Robert Griffin III last Sunday and has struggled to keep Romo in the pocket in the past.
Dallas Cowboys (3-3): A win on Sunday would clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker in Dallas’ favor and give the team a much-needed momentum boost with back-to-back road games at Atlanta and Philadelphia looming over the next two weeks. If the Cowboys survive this stretch, they will have five of the final seven games at home to pad their playoff resume.
The Cowboys managed to tighten things up and get back to .500 against Cam Newton and the Panthers last Sunday, forcing a pair of turnovers and relying on Dan Bailey’s leg to win it. The loss of Lee could be crushing for the defense, which will shift Dan Connor into the starting lineup. Dallas could also be without starting running back DeMarco Murray, who has missed practice this week with a sprained foot.
1. Manning needs three touchdown passes to break Phil Simms’ franchise record of 199.
2. Felix Jones will start in place of Murray. Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar could also see carries for the Cowboys.
3. Romo has posted a passer rating over 100 in each of his last five games against New York.