Cowboys out to avenge lone loss against Giants
The Dallas Cowboys aim to avenge their lone defeat of the season and clinch the NFC East title tomorrow when they clash with a New York Giants team whose pursuit of an NFL playoff spot has been slowed by a suddenly sputtering offense. The 11-1 Cowboys, led by the dynamic rookie duo of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, have already become the first team to secure a post-season berth.
Prescott says he’s learned a lot since the Cowboys’ 20-19 loss to the Giants in week one, and he’s eager to turn the tables. “I watched back the tape, and I shake my head sometimes at the things I did or the throws I didn’t make because I wasn’t trusting it,” Prescott said of his of his first NFL game, which came two weeks after the Cowboys lost Tony Romo with a broken bone in his back. Now Prescott is the NFL’s third-ranked passer with 19 touchdown tosses and two interceptions and he’s looking forward to another shot at the Giants.
“They’re the only blemish on our record right now. And just to be able to go up there at their place and be able to do what they did to us the first game, we’re excited for the opportunity.” The Giants have struggled to fulfill the promise of that opening victory. Although they still have a slim chance of catching the Cowboys for the division crown, they must win their last four games and hope the Cowboys lose another. “This is a playoff game for us, in my mind and so are the rest of them,” Giants receiver Odell Beckham jr said of the pressure on the Giants in the final stretch of the season.
RG3 back for Browns
A 24-14 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week dropped New York to 8-4. The additions of rookie receiver Sterling Shepard and the return of receiver Victor Cruz have failed to yield expected improvements in offense. Quarterback Eli Manning ranks 22nd in passer rating and in addition to 22 touchdowns has thrown 12 interceptions. Nevertheless, Manning was bullish on the Giants’ chances this week. “Hey, we’re the only team to beat Dallas,” Manning said on his radio show. “And we’re going against them at home now, and we’ve been playing great at home. So this is a chance to prove that we are a good team and we are a playoff team.”
Elsewhere in week 14, the Houston Texans seek to stop the rot in a key AFC South clash with the Colts in Indianapolis. Three straight defeats have dropped the Texans to 6-6, the same record as the Colts and Tennessee Titans-although the Texans still hold a tie-breaker edge should the division come down to that. The Colts, meanwhile, are on the rise, having won three of their last four. “We know what situation we’re in,” Colts running back Frank Gore said. “We just want to go out there and try to get a win. Get a win and put us in a better situation.” With time running out for Cleveland to avert a winless season, the Browns will have Robert Griffin III starting at quarterback after an 11-game absence recovering from a shoulder injury.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will get the starting nod for San Francisco against the New York Jets, even after 49ers benched him in a dismal 26-6 loss to the Bears last Sunday in Chicago-where Kaepernick was sacked five times and completed just one pass. Super Bowl champions Denver could have quarterback Trevor Siemian back against the Titans as his sprained left foot continues to improve. “You want to play, you want to play well,” Siemian told reporters after taking practice snaps on Thursday. “(I’m) trying not to be stupid about it.” —AFP