four to play, but know they still have to play Kansas City (7-4), at Washington (5-6), at Carolina (8-3) and St. Louis (5-6). Most importantly, they would be owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Giants in case they finish tied at season's end.
Should the Cowboys lose, OK, they will be one game back, but still will have a split with the Giants, who finish out the season playing at Philadelphia (5-6), Kansas City (7-4), at Washington (5-6) and at Oakland (4-7). Running that table will be hard for the Giants to do, playing three of the final four games on the road.
And for either team, standing 7-5 with four games to go will not kill their chances for a wild-card playoff berth, either. Remember, the seven teams currently with at least seven victories in the NFC still have eight games to play amongst each other down the stretch, starting this Sunday with the Cowboys-Giants and Atlanta-Carolina. In fact, Atlanta (7-4) still has to play Carolina twice and Tampa Bay (7-4) a second time, along with Chicago (8-3), while Tampa Bay still has a rematch with Carolina.
You get the feeling this year, nothing will be over until it's over.
"Obviously a game can make or break your season if it's the final game, and you lose and you're out," Parcells said. "I think this team we're playing has some tough games to play as well, besides our game. I think the team that loses the game will be at a pretty good disadvantage, but I don't think it will be over.
"So, I think there is a chance a team could recover from it."
That is not the way this game will be portrayed, and I'm guessing certainly not with any such measure of common sense in New York, where everything is perceived just a little bit bigger, better or more important. That's just the territory up there.
"This is the game of the year for the New York Giants," said Shockey, getting right in line with East Coast hyperbole.
Plus, adding to the magnitude of this game will be Parcells. No matter he has coached against the Giants once while the head coach of the Patriots and once while head coach of the Jets. Or now even five times while head coach of the Cowboys.
This still will be the return of the much-revered Jersey guy who forever more will be linked with the Giants, no matter what he accomplished with New England or the Jets, or what he might accomplish here in Dallas before all is said and done. Hard to pull up those deep roots. He's still theirs, and he's coming home to coach against their team.
And they won't forget about it.
Hey, you know, those guys love their drama up there about as much as they love their football, so count on the magnitude of this game being squared.
"Seems to be every time we go there, so I wouldn't expect anything different," Parcells said with a bit of resignation. "Couldn't be much different than that first Monday night."
Oh, yes it can. That first Monday night was the first time he coached against his Giants as head coach of the dreaded Cowboys. And even though that was a nationally-televised game, it was only Game 2 of the season.
This is Game 12. This is for first place. This one has farther-reaching consequences. This is truly a big game.
"You can't bring paper plates to this party," said newly-signed Cowboys linebacker Mike Barrow, who intimately knows, having played four seasons with the Giants (2000-2003) and against the Cowboys. "You got to bring your good stuff."
Maybe even your colossal stuff.
|To no one's surprise, the Thanksgiving Day game on CBS received a 13.3 rating and 34 share, amounting to a 15-percent increase from last year's Thanksgiving Day game on CBS, Indy beating Detroit, 41-9. The Broncos' 24-21 overtime victory over the Cowboys also was the highest-rated Thanksgiving Day game, period, in six years, dating back to Miami-Dallas in 1999, which scored a 16.1 national rating and 42 share.
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