EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Cowboys had a chance to claim an NFC East title and a first-round bye. Instead, they only got one touchdown and nothing else, which wasn't enough to beat the Giants and take home any early Christmas presents.
On Friday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman: That felt awfully familiar to the Week 1 loss, didn't it? Yes, the weather was colder and the offense was more inept – but the Cowboys just didn't have any semblance of efficiency against a prickly New York defense. I was correct in my guess that the Cowboys would force some takeaways, and that didn't matter in the slightest bit. The reason why is obvious: all season we've become accustomed to Dak Prescott playing efficiently, if not spectacularly. I honestly thought he would shine tonight after a mediocre debut against this defense. But the Giants seem to have his number. He constantly looked frustrated and occasionally lost. And when he did put together a play, he rarely got help in return. This looked like what I thought the Cowboys might look like with a rookie quarterback, rather than an 11-win juggernaut. Now, I personally don't think it's time to panic. This team has proven itself far too resilient for that. But it'll certainly be interesting to see how they respond to the worst moment – by far – of their season.
Nick Eatman: I knew this game would be tough for the Cowobys, but I didn't think the offense would struggle so much. No one could've seen this one coming to this extent. As great as Dak has been this year, he was just as bad on this night. He usually steps up better when the game is on the line but the Cowboys had no answers at all for that Giants' defense. The sad part for this game is that the Giants didn't have the best defense on the field. The Cowboys were so good defensively but it was a wasted effort in the end. Looks like I picked the wrong guy for a longer touchdown – going with Beasley over Terrance Williams. No picks for Jeff Heath and no blocked punt. Overall, this was a gut feeling for me all around, other than predicting it would be a very tough game for Dallas to win.
Rob Phillips: Well, so much for the "fairly high-scoring game" I expected Sunday night. The Cowboys' defense was tremendous. They held the Giants to only seven points, and really, one big play (Odell Beckham Jr.'s 61-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter) that proved to be the difference. The biggest surprise was the Cowboys' offense struggling the entire game. Every week, there has been at least one stretch where the offense finds a rhythm, but they just couldn't sustain drives (1-of-15 on third down). Give credit to two solid defenses (Giants, Vikings) that played well on their home field. After a couple tough road games, the Cowboys should welcome the chance to play back at AT&T Stadium next Sunday.
Bryan Broaddus: Thought this game would come down to how well the Cowboys offensively would function in the red zone. They were never able to sustain any drives to get in the red zone. They were poor on 3rd down and Prescott was never able to get in any type of rhythm. I thought that Prescott would have been able to handle the weather conditions and be able to drive the ball better but his throws were off all night. Defense was outstanding and played well enough to win this game and take this division but the Giants were just better in what they were able to do defensively. Shame that this effort was wasted.
On Friday, the writers provided their gut feeling for Sunday's game.