As we get ready for Sunday's decisive NFC East showdown between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, let's continue with our position-by-position breakdowns. We have already looked at the offenses and the defenses for both teams. Now, let's look at the special teams.
The Cowboys are middle of the pack in kickoff returns (17th) with an average of 23.7 yards per return. The Cowboys have used a variety of returners this season. Dallas is 27th in the league in punt returns, averaging 7.3 yards per return.
Field goal kicker Dan Bailey is 32-of-36, including the kick Jason Pierre-Paul blocked to save a game for the Giants three weeks ago. Punter Mat McBriar averages 43.8 yards per punt and his net averaged of 36.6 yards is 27th in the league.
The Giants are 21st in the league in kickoff returns, averaging 23.3 yards. In recent weeks rookies Jerrel Jernigan and Da'Rel Scott have shown some promise there. The Giants are 28th in the league in punt returns, averaging 6.8 yards per return. They are one of only two teams in the league without a punt return of at least 20 yards.
Placekicker Lawrence Tynes has been solid, making 18-of-22 field-goal attempts. Tynes has hit 44.7 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks, putting the Giants 14th in the league in that department.
Punter Steve Weatherford has been outstanding for the Giants. The six-year veteran is averaging a career-best 45.9 yards per punt. His net average of 39.4 puts the Giants 13th in the league.
Advantage: Even ... if one of these teams can get a big special teams play Sunday that could be a game-changer.