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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' four-game winning streak and the Dallas Cowboys' recent struggles mean Sunday's game between the teams at MetLife Stadium will carry a level of significance that once seemed impossible.
This is not lost in the Giants' locker room, where Sunday night defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul fired up some very confident-sounding talk about the matchup.
"We're going to put it on them, man," Pierre-Paul said after the Giants' 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers, in which he returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown. "I'm pretty sure the offense is going to get going. The defense is going to get going even more. And the special teams will contribute to it.
"It's going to be a fight. It's going to be a dogfight. There's going to be a lot of blood spilled out there."
The Giants (4-6) began the season with a 36-31 road loss to the Cowboys. That was Pierre-Paul's first game back after missing the preseason following back surgery, and afterward he said he was disappointed not to be able to play at full strength because of how important games against the Cowboys are to him. He blocked a field goal to clinch a win at Dallas in December 2011, helping the Giants en route to their latest Super Bowl title, and he returned a Tony Romo interception for a touchdown in last season's game in Texas.
After this year's season-opening loss, the Giants lost five more games to start 0-6. But they have won four in a row to move within a game of the second-place Cowboys (5-5) and 1½ games of the first-place Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) in a tightly bunched NFC East race. No one in the Giants' locker room is going to have a hard time getting up for this one.
"We know the motivation is going to be there," linebacker Jon Beason said after the Packers game. "It's the Cowboys. The winner's going to go on and still have a chance, and the loser is probably done."
In Irving, Texas, the Cowboys responded to Pierre-Paul's potential bulletin-board comments with a collective shrug.
"He's supposed to feel that way," wide receiver Dez Bryant said. "You're an opponent. We're an opponent for them. It's great confidence.
"We're just going to go out there and play our game. All we focus on is the way we prepare and get ready for games. We're going to go out there and give it our all."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett doesn't want his team to get caught up in any sort of trash-talking back-and-forth, like the old days with Brandon Jacobs and Patrick Crayton trading barbs.
"We just have to focus on what we need to do," Garrett said. "We have great respect for the Giants, their players, their coaches, their football team. We have to go up there and play our best football."
ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.