The Dallas Cowboys went into East Rutherford, New Jersey, and ruined the brash New York Giants' season on Sunday, winning 24-21.
The Giants didn't do themselves any favors by yapping to the media all week about how sure they were about themselves and it came back and bit them.
Let's take a look at what we learned and what was solidified after the game:
1. New York’s season is all but over with Sunday’s 24-21 loss to Dallas.
The week leading up to the game Giants’ players were letting the media know just how confident they were – after four straight games they had a reason to be.
However, broadcasting that confidence to the press is never a good idea. Nobody told that to New York’s defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul when he proclaimed, “We’re going to put it on them,” and “There’s going to be a lot of blood spilled out there.”
After the loss, New York is 4-7, and not only is their season all but over; they made a fool of themselves in the process.
2. Tony Romo is clutch.
The game was tied 21-21 when Dallas got the ball back and Romo led a 14-play, 64-yard drive, going 3-of-3 on third down and completing nine passes total to set up the game-winning field goal. Since 2011 no quarterback has more fourth-quarter comebacks than Romo (11).
After the game, Romo made a classy, yet telling response to all of New York’s smack talk, “I could tell by their words leading up to it that they were confident. But we understood that the game was going to be played on Sunday.”
3. Dallas (6-5) is in line to play their first-ever playoff game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Sitting in first-place in the weak NFC East, Dallas is in control of their own destiny. Philadelphia is also 6-5 but lost to Dallas in week seven, giving the Cowboys an edge in the standings. The Cowboys have five games left, including what should be an epic Week 17 matchup against the Eagles that may determine who will make it into the playoffs.
4. Defense is the Achilles' Heel of the Cowboys (especially against the run).
Dallas has given up 444 yards on the ground in the past two weeks and is desperately missing their best defensive player; linebacker Sean Lee.
Early indications are that Lee will be able to return for the team’s Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Raiders. Oakland averages 147.9 yards per game rushing (4th best in the NFL), making Lee’s return all the more vital for the Cowboys.
5. The Giants have a grim future ahead of them barring a stroke of genius from general manager Jerry Reese this offseason.
Quarterback Eli Manning played Sunday’s game without receiver Hakeem Nicks – who has been an enigma this entire season – and the team ranked 29th in rushing yards heading into Sunday’s game.
Nicks is in his contract year and will surely be let go this off-season, giving way to second-year receiver Rueben Randle (who leads the team in touchdowns this season).
The lack of a threat at tight end has clogged up the running game and has been a big reason why Manning is having the worst season of his entire career (12 TDs, 17 INTs, 70.8 QB rating).
The defensive side of the ball isn’t as concerning, although the vaunted defensive lines of the past are gone. Aging defensive end Justin Tuck has seen his production diminish this season (1.5 sacks, 20 tackles).
The key to recapturing the production of past defensive lines hinges on if 2013 second and third-round picks Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins can become legitimate starters in 2014.