Sunday Night Football Picks: NFC East title on the line for Giants, Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Sunday, 1/1/12, 8:30 PM EST, TV:  NBC
Opening Point Spread:  NY Giants -3
Current Betting Line:  NY Giants -3
Opening Total:  48
Current Total:  47
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Giants vs. Cowboys NFL Betting Preview
Giants QB Eli Manning threw for 400 yards in leading his team to a 37-34 win over the Cowboys in the last meeting.

The NFC East division title will be on the line when the New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys in the regular-season finale on Sunday Night Football.  The winner between the Giants (8-7) and Cowboys (8-7) will head to the playoffs and host a Wild Card matchup next week while the loser must wait another year for a shot at the postseason.

The teams just met three weeks ago with New York’s Jason Pierre-Paul blocking a potential game-tying 47-yard field goal attempt by Dallas kicker Dan Bailey as time expired to preserve a 37-34 victory for the Giants (-3, O/U 47).  The Cowboys blew a 34-22 lead in the last five minutes and hope quarterback Tony Romo will be recovered from a hand injury in time to lead them to a win in the rematch.

Romo injured his hand on the first series last Saturday at home against Philadelphia and had to leave the game, which resulted in a 20-7 loss.  He has received treatment throughout the week and will start even though he could be limited.  His team has lost three of four and failed to cover the spread in five of six along with seven of nine.

Dallas running back Felix Jones has also experienced tightness in his hamstring and only carried the ball four times for 24 yards last week against the Eagles.  Jones was pressed back into the starting role after DeMarco Murray fractured his right ankle in the first half of the last meeting with New York, and he responded in that game with 106 yards on 16 carries.

The Giants got 400 passing yards and two touchdowns from QB Eli Manning in the last meeting with the Cowboys while RB Brandon Jacobs also had a huge game with 101 rushing yards on 19 carries and scored twice, including the game-winning TD with 46 seconds remaining.  Manning has not played particularly well since then though, throwing just one touchdown with four interceptions in splitting games with Washington and the New York Jets.

Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware and his teammates did not register a sack against Manning, and he is tied for second in the NFL with 18.  Ware will need to be able to pressure Manning into poor throws and force some mistakes to back up defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s claim that their team will win the division.

The Cowboys have dropped four of the past five meetings with New York both straight-up and against the spread.  The OVER has cashed in all of those games, although the UNDER is 4-1 in the past five for Dallas overall.

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