Stuck at the airport Denver,CO- As I sit here at gate b22 waiting for my flight back home for NYE, I am watching a lot of sports on ESPN as I try to kill time. The biggest event this weekend is not the coming of a new year, but more so what will happen in the NFC East. Will the Cowboys or the Giants prevail?
Both teams had chances to pull away with the division. The Giants started the season 6-2, clear front runners for the NFC East crown, and potentially playing for first round bye. This was followed by the usual November/December collapse where they were a blocked field goal away from potentially losing 5 straight.
On the other side, Dallas had a chance to pull away with the division lead after passing the Giants in early December. Head coach Jason Garrett literally iced his own kicker, and lost to Arizona in OT. The Dallas D has not been what we all thought it would be after a phenomenal first half, and blew a 12 point lead with 5:31 to go against the Giants.
Now it all comes down to this final game in week 17. This is a playoff game for both teams. This game will come down to who posses the ball last. We all know that Eli Manning can perform in the crunch, and Romo has proved to posses a "clutch gene," however coaching and defensive issues have prevented the Cowboys from being a lock in the playoffs. This is going to be the game of the week, and I think the Boys will be focused, and determined to make the playoffs.
Keys to the game:
Its going to come down to how QBs Tony Romo and Eli Manning play. Although the running game will be a factor, both of these teams can put up numbers through the air more so then on the ground.
Each of the teams have some the leagues best pass rushers. DE/LB Demarcus Ware and DE Jay Ratliff (Both probowlers) will be key in creating pressure and cause Eli to be flushed from the pocket. For the Giants, rookie Jean-Pierre and probowler Justin Tuck will be doing the same on the other side of the ball.
Finally, how well can the Dallas secondary match-up against a very talented receiving core for the NYG. Still very much underrated WR Victor Cruz had an explosive November, but cooled off in December. He did torch the Jets D for a long TD reception. CBs Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins will have their hands full. Going to need to disguise coverage and depend on the front 4 to get some pressure on Eli.
Dallas will make the playoffs this year and win by a score of 28-27