What's at stake for the "Giants" on Sunday night vs "Cowboys".


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants are at the final quarter pole and in need of a strong closing stretch that begins Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

If they stumble, it will be a fifth straight year without the playoffs. If they finish strongly, it will mark a significant improvement from the end of the Tom Coughlin era.

A lot is at stake for the Giants organization down the stretch, especially Sunday night.

The Giants (8-4) likely need to win two of their final four games to reach the postseason. The Cowboys offer an opportunity for the first of those two or more victories, and a whole lot more.

It’s another chance to prove all the doubters that the Giants are more than just a team that beat up on bad competition since handing the Cowboys their only loss of the season in Week 1.
“It definitely is,” rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. “Only loss they have was against us earlier in the season, so people probably think it’s a fluke.

It would be great to go in there and prove people wrong and show people why we deserve to be in the playoffs as well.”
The Cowboys (11-1) are the NFL’s best and hottest team. Barring a collapse, they’re going to win the NFC East.

The Giants are realistically playing for a wild-card spot. They entered Sunday in the lead for the first wild card in the NFC.
But there is competition. The Giants can spend Sunday afternoon rooting for the Redskins, Vikings, Packers, Bucs and Falcons to lose.

The logjam is why wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. considers Sunday against the Cowboys a playoff game. Running back Rashad Jennings considers the final four games playoff games.

“At stake? There’s only four games left. Everything is at stake,” Jennings said. “The season is at stake every single week now.

“We need to win this game.”
If the Giants falter, the pressure will build. All of a sudden they’ll need to win (at least) two of their final three games. And two of their final three games will be on the road.

This week is at home, in prime time, against a division opponent. It’s an important 60 minutes that could go a long way in determining the fate of the Giants' season.

“We have a big game, a big opportunity for us in the division,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “It will be a highly competitive football game and an opportunity for us to get a win.”
After being dominated last week in Pittsburgh, this group has plenty to prove. And what better way to prove it then against the Cowboys, who haven’t lost since Sept. 11. to these very same Giants.
If that happens, Dallas will be rooting hard against Big Blue in January. They won't want to see them again.

Giants Week 14 Cheat Sheet

Newhouse at guard
The hope for the Giants was they would have starting left guard Justin Pugh back in the lineup this week.

It doesn't seem likely to happen. Pugh has been trying to recover from a knee injury and experienced a minor setback several weeks back that has pushed his return date further along.

Veteran Marshall Newhouse took almost all the first-team snaps at left guard this week and is expected to start in his place, according to sources.

This will be Newhouse’s third career start at guard.
Communication between Newhouse and left tackle Ereck Flowers and center Weston Richburg will be key.

The Cowboys defensive line likes to move laterally and come from all different angles. Recognition is of utmost importance this week.

Vereen’s role

Running back Shane Vereen returns after missing the Giants’ last nine games with a torn triceps. It will be a welcome addition to a struggling offense.
Vereen will be thrown right into the mix. It’s just a matter of how much the Giants can use him after he missed almost three months of action. He had just one padded, contact workout since returning to practice last week.
The expectation is that he returns as the passing-down back. Rashad Jennings and rookie Paul Perkins will likely split first and second downs, much like they’ve been doing since the bye week.

Weather watch

There is a chance of snow showers during the game, but it’s nothing that suggests significant accumulation.

It could be light rain showers with minimal wind (less than 10 miles per hour, according to weather.

The weather -- other than the cold

temperatures in the low 30s -- shouldn’t be anything that greatly affects the game.
The Giants don’t seem to mind if it does get wintry.

“Great. We are a cold-weather team; we welcome the weather conditions,” McAdoo said. “I think it would be great for our team and great for the game. I think it would create a great atmosphere.”

Guessing the inactives

QB Josh Johnson, LG Justin Pugh (knee), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle), S Nat Berhe (concussion), LB Mark Herzlich (concussion), WR Tavarres King, TE Larry Donnell
Donnell ends as the odd-man out as the Giants go heavy on the defensive line with Pierre-Paul sidelined.

"All hands on deck," as McAdoo stated earlier in the week about filling the JPP void.

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