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Sunday, January 1, 2012
Halftime thoughts: Giants mauling Cowboys

By Dan Graziano

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants could not have asked for a better first half in the NFC East title game. They have done everything they've wanted to do on offense and defense. They have come out fired up behind high-energy stars like Mathias Kiwanuka and Victor Cruz. And when they've made mistakes, the Dallas Cowboys have consistently failed to capitalize on them.

Eli Manning is 15-for-20 for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the game so far. Ahmad Bradshaw has 46 rush yards and two touchdowns -- one on the ground and one through the air. The Giants are rolling with a 21-0 lead and will get the ball back to start the second half.

The Giants have been picking on overmatched Dallas cornerback Terence Newman all night, and Newman has given them no reason to stop. Not that he's the only Cowboy who should be blamed for what's going on here tonight. Here is a list of costly Cowboys mistakes from the first half. It's not for the faint of heart:
It all adds up to this: One team came to play and the other team looks as though it did not. The Giants have been creative and quick and effective with their pass rush, which has deprived the Cowboys of a chance to take advantage of the Giants' secondary or even really find out if Romo's hand is OK. The Giants have kept the Cowboys off of Manning, which continues a trend. The Cowboys didn't sack Manning in the game three weeks ago in Dallas, and haven't tonight. And the Giants have blocked fairly well in the run game when they've needed to.

The game is not decided or out of reach, but a different -- and much more focused -- Dallas team needs to come out of the halftime locker room, or next week's playoff game is going to be here and not in Arlington, Texas.