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The New York Giants barely have had time to catch their breath from trying to outlast super rookie Robert Griffin III.
And now they must focus their attention toward Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys for what will undoubtedly be another hotly contested and mentally, physically draining NFC East battle.
Payback will be on the minds of several Giants this week as they head to Cowboys Stadium where Jerry Jones invited Dallas fans to "watch us beat the New York Giants' ass" earlier this summer.
|Eli Manning and the Giants were disappointed by their Week 1 performance against the Cowboys.|
"Obviously, Dallas beat us the first week of the season and we're definitely looking for get-back," Antrel Rolle said. "We're definitely looking for some get-back at this point in time."Rolle elaborated in his weekly WFAN radio interview on Tuesday. "We owe those guys," he said. "We are going out there ready to be some head busters."
It has been an emotional three weeks for the Giants. The defending world champs were highly motivated to smother the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC Championship Game rematch. Then last Sunday, the Giants escaped -- as Osi Umenyiora succinctly put it -- a 12-round bout with RG3 and the Redskins that went down to the final two minutes.
And now comes what should be a steel cage match with the Cowboys, who already drew first blood in the season opener with a 24-17 victory at MetLife Stadium in September."We are extremely motivated," Rolle said on WFAN. "We didn't like going out there and losing that game, our first game at home, Wednesday night game, all the bright lights were put on us. And they came in here and whupped our butts fair and square. They were definitely the better team that night and we will show them who is the better team come Sunday night."
The Giants have always known the NFC East is one of the toughest divisions in football. But after seeing firsthand how good the Redskins have become, the Giants are resigned to the fact that the division is truly going to be all about survival and the last team standing this season.
"It's the nature of this division," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "It doesn't get easy, it's tough. Each of these games is a battle. I was looking at the differential in our two [division] losses, what, nine points?
"Each game is a battle these divisional games are very exciting," Coughlin added. "They do take a physical drain on you, but nevertheless, you have to come right back again."
The Giants looked excited but also relieved after beating the Redskins, 27-23, in a game that required Eli Manning to throw a 77-yard strike to Victor Cruz with 1:13 remaining after Griffin scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:32 to go.
On Sunday, the Giants certainly got a taste of the future of the division with the dynamic RG3. And this Sunday night, they'll get back to trying to keep the Cowboys from realizing their potential.
The Cowboys' window for contention may be closing. And the Giants stood in their way last season when they swept Dallas to win the division, make the playoffs and ultimately advance to the Super Bowl.
That prompted Jones to spend millions to upgrade his secondary and rally Dallas fans to come out for the Giants game this Sunday.
"Y'all should come to that [Cowboys] stadium and watch us beat the New York Giants' ass," Jones said back in late July at a ceremony signaling the start of Cowboys camp.
The Giants surely remember that comment.
"Yeah, yeah, I remember that very well," Cruz said.
And for those who forgot, Coughlin will likely remind them this week.
"Oh, definitely," Ahmad Bradshaw said of whether he remembered what Jones said. "We take pride in the billboard postings and different things and what's motivation to our team. We just use it all for motivation for the game."
The Giants should have plenty of motivation for this game. They are 1-2 in the division and definitely need the win. The Giants (5-2) also can extend a lead over their division foes in the overall standings with the Cowboys and Eagles at 3-3 and Redskins at 3-4 overall.
The Cowboys also beat them in a game that wasn't as close as the 24-17 final score indicated earlier this season. Dallas held Manning to 213 yards passing and Cruz to a team-leading 58 yards receiving with their new and improved secondary.
Romo also threw for 307 yards and repeatedly eluded the Giants' vaunted pass rush. The Giants were none too happy with their play in the nationally televised showcase to kick off the season.
The Giants, though, feel they are more in sync and better than the team playing on Sept. 5.
"I think offensively we're at a better place," Cruz said. "We're understanding things a lot more. Everybody's on the same page. We were still getting our plays down, as far as getting real live game play, us playing the entire game and things like that.
"And you've got to give Dallas credit," Cruz continued. "They came to play. They came out firing and we were on our heels a little bit. So we just want to come out and be the aggressor this game. We know it's not going to be easy. Dallas is never an easy game for us. We've just got to come out firing."
Recently, the Giants haven't had much problem putting up points in Dallas. They have won their past three games there, averaging 37 points. Since 2006, the Giants have scored 33 or more points in five of seven meetings, including a playoff game there during the 2007 season.
Last season, the Giants escaped Big D with a 37-34 win after Jason Pierre-Paul basically saved the season by blocking a field goal toward the end of the game.
"We have fun in Dallas Stadium," Bradshaw said.
Something tells us we should get ready for another NFC East nail biter Sunday night in Texas.