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Rapid Reaction: Giants 31, Cowboys 14


Recap | Box score | Photos

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- The New York Giants' motto was "finish" this year. They finished the season with two straight wins, swept the Dallas Cowboys and won the NFC East to snap a two-year playoff drought with a 31-14 win over the Cowboys.

What it means: The Giants won the NFC East. They will face the Atlanta Falcons next week at home in their first playoff game since the 2008 season.

The Giants are playing their best football of the season after wins over the Jets and Cowboys and surely feel like they can make a postseason run.

Fast start: The Giants played their best half of the season to open the game, jumping out to a 21-0 lead -- their biggest of the season since Week 2. It could have been bigger if Lawrence Tynes didn’t miss a 40-yard field goal attempt.

Manning completed 15-of-20 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns by halftime. Dallas’ secondary had all sorts of problems covering. Meanwhile, Tony Romo completed 10-of-12 passes with his injured throwing hand but only for 91 yards. He was sacked three times and under pressure often.

It was the perfect start for the Giants.

Salsa time: Victor Cruz continues to astound with his play. He followed up last week’s 99-yard touchdown catch-and-run against the Jets with a similar, 74-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Cruz beat Terence Newman and outran the Dallas defense into the end zone. Cruz then came up big in the fourth quarter. With the Giants' cut to seven, Manning hit Cruz on a 43-yard bomb that helped set up a Tynes' field goal to push the Giants' lead to 24-14 with 5:45 remaining in the game. The Cowboys never recovered.

The Pitbull: Ahmad Bradshaw did not play in the first half against the Cowboys in the previous meeting in Dallas after being benched for violating team rules.

This time, he played in the first half and had two touchdowns by halftime. He scored on a 5-yard touchdown run and a 10-yard touchdown catch to give the Giants a 21-0 lead. He finished with 46 yards rushing in the half.

Game of inches: The Giants came up with a big stop when Michael Boley jumped over the Cowboys' offensive line and hit Romo to stop a quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-1 at the Giants’ 10 early in the fourth. Dallas was down 21-7 at the time.

Who’s next: The Giants host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday (1 p.m. ET) in a wild card game. The defense will be tested by Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones.