Quarterback Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The New York Giants face a must-win Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys in Texas. The Giants (6-6) trail the Cowboys (7-5) in the NFC East and have just four games remaining, two against Dallas. Let's take a look at what the Cowboys are all about.
RECORD (7-5, first place in the NFC East)
Much like the Giants, the Cowboys have been all over the map this season. They started the season 3-4 but, following a lopsided 34-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Dallas ran off four straight victories. Then, last week, is a game against a weak Arizona team, Dallas lost in overtime, 19-13.
Which Dallas team is the real one? Maybe the answer is both, which makes largely identical to the Giants.
Dallas, of course, is led by quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboy quarterback has had a typical year statistically, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 3,325 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions thus far. He has a passer rating of 97.3 and a QBR of 71.0, which is fourth in the league.
The Cowboys leading receiver is tight end Jason Witten, who has 61 catches. Since the start of the 2007 season, Witten leads NFL tight ends with 426 catches & 4,889 yards.
On the outside the Cowboys have Dez Bryant (46 catches and seven touchdowns) and Laurent Robinson (42 catches, seven touchdowns). They also expect to get Miles Austin, who has compiled more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons, back Sunday. Austin has played only six games this season due to a hamstring injury.
The Dallas running game is led by rookie third-round pick DeMarco Murray. He has 872 yards this season and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Felix Jones is the backup. The Cowboys could also be helped by the return of fullback Tony Fiammetta.
For Dallas, linebacker DeMarcus Ware leads the league in sacks with 15 and will be matched up most of the time with Giants' veteran offensive tackle David Diehl. That pair has locked horns for years, and Ware has generally gotten the better of the match-up. Second-year linebacker Sean Lee leads the Cowboys in tackles with 76. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is another key defender for Dallas.
Dallas placekicker Dan Bailey is 29-of-32 on field goals this season. Punter Mat McBriar averages 45.2 yards per kick. Several players have shared kickoff and punt return duties.
Jason Garrett is in his first full season with the Cowboys. He is drawing some scrutiny after calling a timeout at the end of regulation Sunday against Arizona that would have won the game for Dallas in regulation. Bailey missed the subsequent re-kick and the Cowboys lost in overtime. Dallas is 12-8 since Garrett replaces Wade Phillips midway through last season.
Dallas Cowboys - Game Averages
|Off||23.6||385.6 (7th)||270.8 (7th)||114.8 (14th-T)|
|Def||20.3||330.7 (11th)||230.2 (14th)||100.5 (9th)|