Giants, Cowboys meet in survival game in NFC East race

LEFT: Wide receiver Michael Gallup #13 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass against cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by T

There are certain undeniable facts about the NFC East that will be recorded in the history books when New Year’s weekend is over.

It was one of the worst divisions in the 101-year history of the National Football League. And one of its teams will be crowned champion and advance to host an NFC playoff game next week.

When the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants meet up on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m., FOX) at MetLife Stadium, both teams will still be alive for that magic ticket from the division. By the time the sun sets on the Meadowlands, only one will be a Washington loss at Philadelphia away from a title while the other will likely carry a Top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Weird times, man. Weird times.

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The sports betting information

On Sportsbook, Dallas is a 2 ½ point road favorite in this one with a money line of minus-138. (A $138 bet would be needed to win $100.) The Giants are +120 – a $100 bet would win $120. The over-under is 44 1/2

Dallas is 5-10 against the spread but has covered in three straight games. The Giants are 8-7.

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The history

Dallas has won seven straight in this series and leads it overall 69-46-2. The first game between the two back on Oct. 11 turned out to be a momentous day in the divisional race, as Dallas’ 37-34 win was overshadowed by Dak Prescott’s broken leg that ended his season. The Cowboys lost six of the next seven and fell to 3-9 overall before rallying with three straight wins to stay alive in the NFC East race.

The storylines to watch

New York seemed to firmly control its destiny on Dec. 6 when it traveled to Seattle and edged the Seahawks to improve to 5-7. They held a tiebreaker over Washington because of two head to head wins and felt like they were gaining momentum. The problem is the offense has stalled since that point, with the Giants being held to 26 points over the next three games (8.3 per game) and not breaking the 300 yard mark in total offense in losses to Arizona, Cleveland and at Baltimore. Daniel Jones did play in the 27-13 loss to Baltimore last week, completing 24-of-41 passes for 252 yards. But he’s been a sitting duck in the pocket with his leg issues as he was sacked six times in games against the Ravens and Cardinals.

Meanwhile, Dallas’ offense pretty much has been what it was all year- explosive with the right combination at quarterback. When Andy Dalton or Prescott were at quarterback, the Cowboys were able to get the ball in space to Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb. In the last three weeks, the Cowboys have scored 108 points (36 points per game). One trick has been the Dallas defense has taken advantage of three bad offenses- Cincinnati, San Francisco and Baltimore- to clean up what was a nagging spot all year long. They’ve held those three teams to just 19 points per game – 11 points below the season average of 30.0 per contest. Whether or not Dallas makes the playoffs, the best part of this late season run for Mike McCarthy could be building something moving forward for when Prescott returns next year.

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