Last weekend the Cowboys (11-1) became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFL playoffs, but there's plenty more to play for with four games remaining.
The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East championship with a win on Sunday Night Football. Standing in their way is a New York Giants team (8-4) that has won six of their last seven games and handed the Cowboys their only loss of the season back in Week 1.
Which team will prevail in the rematch? The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their gut feelings for Sunday's game:
Bryan Broaddus: The first time these two clubs met, the Giants were able to able to hold the Cowboys' offense in check while in the red zone. The Giants remain one of the best red zone defenses in the league, allowing opponents to score touchdowns only 43 percent of the time, which is good enough for second overall. Where the Cowboys have improved since that last meeting has been in their red zone touchdown efficiency. Offensively they score 66 percent of the time which ranks them fourth in the league. My gut feeling is that they will make three red zone trips and score touchdowns on all three drives. Dallas wins the NFC East with a 24-16 victory Sunday.
Rob Phillips: The Giants are 5-1 at home this year, and as always, it's imperative the Cowboys produce a pass rush against Eli Manning – who tends to get rid of the ball quickly to begin with – and not give him time to find Odell Beckham Jr. down the field. But the biggest matchup for me is the run defense against New York. The Giants are averaging 3.5 yards per carry this season and the Cowboys are the only team in the league that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher all year. That trend must continue. They can't allow the Giants to establish a balanced offensive attack. I think New York will be more productive than the last two weeks in which Manning didn't reach 200 yards passing, but overall this Cowboys defense has done a good job of getting off the field in key situations, and I do think Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will be more efficient this time around. My gut feeling is the Cowboys win a fairly high-scoring game in the Meadowlands and improve to 12-1.
Nick Eatman: My gut isn't extremely excited about a Cowboys victory here – just being honest. I know I've said for a long time now that I won't pick against this team until it loses. So I'm going to stick with it, but I really feel like this game is going to be an all-out war. My reasoning on this goes far beyond the fact the Giants are the only team to beat the Cowboys. Personally, what happened in Week 1 means nothing to now. There are many aspects that are different now for both teams, including the maturation of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. But to me, it just doesn't seem time for the Cowboys to be wearing NFC East shirts in early December. It definitely seems early for them to clinch first-round byes and perhaps even the No. 1 seed in the NFC. But yet, it all can happen this weekend. For that reason, I'm a little skeptical to pick the Cowboys again. But, until someone shows they can stop them, I'll ride with them. I've got a blocked punt in this game, a longer touchdown by Cole Beasley (something over 30 yards) and an interception from Jeff Heath. Overall, it'll be a grinder but the Cowboys will win, 23-22.
David Helman: Stop me if this sounds familiar, but I absolutely think the Cowboys are going to have their hands full this weekend – and I absolutely refuse to pick against them until they give me a reason to do so. The Giants have the personnel to be a nasty defense, but they're not that good, considering the money they spent on guys like Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins. They're fifth against the run and 25th against the pass – which, even if they can limit Ezekiel Elliott a second time, I absolutely think Dak Prescott will have a better day on Sunday than he did in Week 1. With the Giants having to respect Prescott's improvement as a passer, I think Elliott will fare far better than his 51 yards from the season opener. Conversely, I watched Eli Manning throw balls up for grabs multiple times last week against Pittsburgh, and I just have to believe this Dallas defense can come away with a takeaway or two this week. I'm calling for Sean Lee to score a defensive touchdown to clinch the NFC East, as the Cowboys win – something like 34-24.