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Thursday, December 8, 2011
Breakfast links: Countdown to N.Y.-Dallas

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Three days left until the big showdown between the Cowboys and the Giants in the NFC East, and yeah, they're chirping. We'll get you all caught up with the links.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware thinks the reason Giants defensive end Justin Tuck doesn't like Cowboys Stadium is because Tuck is jealous and secretly wants to play for the Cowboys. I'm pretty sure this is untrue, since I've always thought Tuck hated the Cowboys, but I don't know maybe Ware has his reasons for believing what he believes. He also says some stuff in Calvin Watkins' post about how the Cowboys need to get their manhood back, but that it's not just the Giants they need to get it back from or something like that, I didn't really understand. And Mike Jenkins calls Brandon Jacobs "a bully" in reference to his on-field trash talk, which we've heard before. So I don't know. I guess they don't like each other, Cowboys and Giants, is the upshot.

Manhood or not, the Cowboys do appear as though they'll get fullback Tony Fiammetta back for the game. The Cowboys are averaging 5.6 yards per carry this year when Fiammetta plays and 3.2 when he doesn't. His may be a more important return from injury than Miles Austin's.

New York Giants

As Ohm Youngmisuk points out, the Giants have won five of the last seven meetings between these teams and Eli Manning has had some of the best games of his career against Dallas. That, plus the fact that Manning is playing at as high a level as he ever has entering this final stretch, gives him and the Giants confidence as they gear up for Sunday's game.

When left tackle Will Beatty had to have surgery to repair a detached retina, veteran David Diehl had to move back from left guard to his old left tackle spot. His transition has been smooth and has helped the line play well in Beatty's absence, which comes as no surprise to his teammates, as Mike Garafolo writes.

Philadelphia Eagles

Marcus Hayes heard what Andy Reid said about the Eagles being the youngest team in the league, and he understands that most people heard it as an excuse. But Marcus points out that, excuse or not, it might be true, and the fact that the Eagles are as young as they are at linebacker and safety has contributed to the struggles of the defense. Now, you can make the argument that it's Reid's fault they were so young at those spots and they could have found a veteran or two to help out. But as for whether youth and inexperience at those spots contributed to the problem, sure.

Trent Cole defended the play that ended the season of Seattle tackle Russell Okung. Cole was fined $7,500 for that play but said it wasn't dirty, that he plans to appeal the fine and sheesh, whatever you do, he'd really like you not to compare him to Ndamukong Suh. That's apparently one of the worst things you can say about somebody right now.

Washington Redskins

I feel like we've clobbered the Trent Williams and Fred Davis suspensions pretty hard here, so we'll move on from commenting on those. (Though I reserve the right to point out the ways in which their absence affects the offense once people start asking, "What's wrong with our offense?") One piece of the fallout, Mike Jones says, might be more work for veteran fullback Mike Sellers, who has played more recently due to Darrel Young's concussion and says he's ready for more work if need be.

That offense could find some passing yards this weekend against a soft Patriots defense. But Rex Grossman says the key will be to sustain drives and find a way to finish things off in the fourth quarter -- something they couldn't do last week against the Jets.