FOX Game of Week: Giants, Cowboys ready for another chapter to rivalry
FOX Game of Week: New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys battle in NFC East grudge match in NFL Week 12.
There's gonna be a rumble on Sunday.
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports
By David Whitley
There's an aroma to Sunday's Cowboys-Giants game. Anybody smell blood?
The Giants do, especially with this week's ominous news out of Dallas.
Jerry Jones announced he is bringing himself back next season. Then he said the same about Jason Garrett.
A vote of confidence from Jones is pretty meaningless, except for meaning the Cowboys are again in a bind. They've lost two of their past three games and are coming off a 49-17 wipeout in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the Giants have visions of becoming the first team to start 0-6 and conquer the world. They have won five in a row and are sniffing Cowboy hemoglobin.
"We're going to put it on them, man," Jason Pierre-Paul declared after New York beat the Packers last week. "There's going to be a lot of blood spilled out there."
That boast could be written off as post-win exuberance by a defensive end who'd just returned an interception for a score. But by midweek Pierre-Paul wasn't backing off.
"This game right here is like the Super Bowl to us. It's not a playoff game, it's the Super Bowl," he said Wednesday. "At the end of the day, it's gonna be a bloodbath."
If the Cowboys win, New York's resurrection story goes POOF! If the Giants win, they'll be tied with Dallas and only a game behind idle Philadelphia in the iron-poor NFC East. What will the Cowboys' blue-blood owner say then?
"I want the blood!"
That's actually what Daniel Plainview said, though it still applies. This week's pregame chatter could have come right off the poster for "There Will Be Blood," the Academy-Award winning picture starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
Like Jones, Plainview was an oilman. Like Jones, he was psycho. Like Jones, Plainview's business associates often ended up like Wade Phillips, Dave Campo and Chan Gailey. In the movie's final scene, Plainview beats a guy to death with a bowling pin.
To be fair to Plainview, he hadn't Eli Sunday a vote of confidence. Jones did that for Garrett this week, hoping to quiet the favorite parlor game in Dallas for the past 20 years — When Will The Coach Be Fired?
"I'm in the saddle with Wade and in the saddle with this team," Jones said Sept. 23, 2010.
Six weeks later he axed Phillips and installed his latest puppet. Fifty games later, Garrett is 26-24. The perpetual mediocrity is hardly all his doing. But still, do you swear a coach will return next season when he could potentially finish this one 5-11?
You do if you're JJ.
"I'm disappointed we don't have a better record," Jones said. "But he has got us in position to win the division and got a team here I firmly believe has the ability to be one of the better teams playing at the end."
It might, though trends suggest John Mara is the owner who should be saying that. Unlike Jones, he doesn't have a weekly radio show or hold court after every game. Mara turned down interview requests when the Giants were struggling, but he spoke this week to the New York Daily News.
"I do have a lot faith and confidence in our organization because they have won before," he said. "They didn't all of a sudden forget all they knew about football."
If that sounds like a vote of confidence for Tom Coughlin, it really wasn't needed. The Giants traditionally muddle through the regular season and go nuclear in the playoffs. But Coughlin may have out-Coughlined himself this year.
The Giants looked like the Jaguars through mid-October. Now their defense has revived and Eli Manning is no longer throwing three interceptions a game.
"We're getting there," Coughlin said.
It should be noted the current winning streak has come against teams quarterbacked by Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, a gimpy Terrelle Pryor and Scott Tolzien. None will be mistaken for Tony Romo.
But if Romo has another late-game brain cramp or the defense gives up its usual 439.8 yards, the Giants may be mistaken for a Super Bowl contender and Jones could be mistaken for Daniel Plainview.