Justin Tuck still hates the Cowboys

Updated: December 26, 2011, 4:48 PM ET
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Six days before the game that will decide the NFC East title, New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck made his position about his opponent very clear.

"I've been quoted many times saying I hate the Dallas Cowboys, and I still do," Tuck said.

Tuck has been consistent on this. He's even been quoted in the past few years ripping the Cowboys' new stadium. But pressed on his reasons for his hatred of the Cowboys, Tuck couldn't come up with an answer. He was just very matter-of-fact about his feelings and said he didn't really know where they came from. If anything, he was respectful in discussing this week's opponent.

"A lot of it's out of respect," Tuck said. "I think when you look at all of the history, all of the great players, the championships won, I think the two teams are probably more similar than a lot of people like to admit."

Wherever it comes from, there will be plenty of emotion flowing Sunday night when Tuck and the Giants face the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium for the NFC East title.

"I do not like the Cowboys and they don't like me," Tuck said. "And that's how it's supposed to be. That's nothing new."

Tuck believes the home crowd will provide the Giants with a major advantage.

"I know our crowd is going to come out fired up for this game, playoff atmosphere, Sunday night, winner take all and I know our fans hate the Cowboys as much as I do," Tuck said.

Tuck was as fired up Saturday for a game as he has been at any time this year, casting aside the nicks and bruises that have been bothering him all year after a pep talk from coach Tom Coughlin. He believes he played his best game of the year in the Giants' win over the New York Jets.

This week, he expects everybody on both sides to be in the right competitive frame of mind. He expects injured Cowboys Tony Romo and Felix Jones to play -- an expectation shared by Coughlin and safety Antrel Rolle.

"I don't really care," Tuck said when asked if he thinks Romo and Jones will play. "They can bring back everybody back on that (Dallas Cowboys') Ring of Honor for them. You got to play (against) them. In games like this, pains don't hurt as much. Romo is going to play and Felix Jones is going to play and we are going to have to beat them."

Tuck also believes he will be in fine shape even after playing 88 snaps Saturday against the Jets.

"Last week was a playoff game for us. This week is a playoff game for us. And hopefully we win and get another playoff game after that," he added. "After all of the adversity we've gone through this year, I think we're poised to make a run."

Since it's only Monday, Tuck has a feeling there will be more words exchanged between these two NFC East rivals.

"Well, you know, we have Brandon Jacobs on our team so obviously it's going to be something," Tuck said of the Giants running back, who doesn't hide his hatred for Dallas either. "Last time we played, DeMarcus (Ware) told me I wanted to be a Cowboy, so we'll see what they follow up with this week."

"But I think because of the mutual respect between both teams, this rivalry is intensified for good reason," Tuck added. "This will be another game that goes in the long list of games between these two teams that meant so much. When you have that, that's when you start to get the mutual respect but in the same sense, it also intensifies the trash talk."

If there are words exchanged between the two teams this week, Tuck hopes the Giants will respond the way they did last week, when the Jets mouthed off and fired up the Giants.

"I think the Jets won the talking war," Tuck said. "We talked a little bit more with our pads than they did and that was the end of it."

Dan Graziano covers the NFC East for ESPN.com. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com contributed to this report.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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