New York at Dallas
Time: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET
Players to watch
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Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Glamour-boy quarterback Tony Romo has struggled down the stretch and he’s going to have to get it all together to beat a Giants team that could make his life miserable. In two wins during the regular season over New York, he threw for nearly 600 yards and eight touchdowns. His job will be easier if receiver Terrell Owens, who had four of those TDs, recovers from the ankle sprain that sidelined him during the last game of the regular season. You figure T.O. will play if at all possible, but he has to be effective to give the Cowboys an edge. Look to see if power back Marion Barber gets off early. Tight end Jason Witten also is a major piece of the attack. Defensively, the big horses are two Pro Bowlers — outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who leads the pass rush, and safety Roy Williams. In a tight game, rookie Pro Bowl kicker Nick Folk could be the difference.
The Giants win if
During both regular season wins, the Giants played the Cowboys even — for a half. In the second half, they let Romo and Owens beat them. That has to change, and the Giants defensive front has to first stop the run and then keep heavy pressure on Romo. If they can get to him early and keep after him late, the Giants offense should take care of itself.
The Cowboys win if
The Giants lose if
New York has to play pretty much an error-free game. If Manning gets rattled and throws two or three interceptions, their chances of victory decline dramatically. Their chances will be reduced to zero if they don’t contain the Cowboys’ running game.
The Cowboys lose if
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Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
They say it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season, but that’s what the Cowboys have to do. They’re a bit battered and they haven’t played well down the stretch. Romo may be more of a question mark going into the game than Manning. And the Giants are playing with more confidence than at any time in years. Dallas is also a better venue for Manning than New York, where he dislikes playing in winter weather. Dallas hasn’t won a playoff game in more than a decade. I think they’re going to add to that streak in an upset that will make Big D a very unhappy town. Giants 34, Cowboys 30.
CSN: The Super Bowl's golden anniversary will be held in the Golden State. The new stadium, which opens in 2014, in Santa Clara will host Super Bowl L two years later, the NFL announced Tuesday.