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It's Hard to Make Predictions About Sunday Night

Which Cowboys and Giants will show up on at the Meadowlands?

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Dec 30, 2011  |  Updated 1:46 PM EDT
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It's Hard to Make Predictions About Sunday Night

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Everything's up for grabs on Sunday night.

Everywhere you look right now, there's someone telling you what has to happen in order for the Giants to beat the Cowboys and win the NFC East.

Justin Tuck needs to play a huge game. They need to batter Tony Romo into submission. They need to stop the run. The offensive line needs to keep up its good work from the second half of the Jets game.

And so on and so on and so on.

The same thing is going on in Dallas with names like DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten substituting for the ones bouncing around our fair city.

What you won't see anyone doing is making any bold predictions about what will actually happen on the field in the final game of the regular season. No one can do that because if you could actually predict what these two Jekyll and Hyde teams could do on the field, you would be picking stocks, playing the lottery or doing something else with your powers of premonition that would make you wealthy.

The only thing we know for sure about the Cowboys and the Giants this season is that we don't know a thing for sure about the Cowboys and Giants this season. Both teams have displayed a propensity for zigging when everyone thinks they'll zag. It would be charming if it didn't land them in the losers column quite so often.

It's easy to say that this game is too big for the Giants to come out flat in front of a fired-up home crowd looking to celebrate -- except that the Giants did just that against the Eagles and Redskins in the second half of the season. It's just as easy to say that the Giants defense got itself back on track -- they certainly are talking that way -- but only if you choose to ignore the fact that Tony Romo isn't Mark Sanchez and the Cowboys haven't had much problem putting up big numbers against the Giants, even when they actually field a good defense.

You can keep going with this all day right through the Giants' running game, Eli Manning's shaky last two games and a coaching staff that can't seem to press the right buttons when the Giants absolutely need a win. Flip everything around and it is just as true of the Cowboys, which makes you wonder if the motto of the NFC East shouldn't be "Taking Our Eyes Off the Ball at Just the Wrong Moment."

That leaves us with dozens of reasons why either team can win and just as many reasons why either team can lose. The gut feeling is that you go with the team with the best players playing at the highest levels, but is that Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul and Victor Cruz or is it Ware, Romo and the Cowboys deep receiving corps?

Both teams leave a road of blown chances and missed opportunities behind them on the way to the field on Sunday night. All of those things will remain in the past because the loser is going to put their schizo history to rest with a performance that makes it clear they were just a tease the entire time.

And the winner? The road to the playoffs won't matter a bit because the destination is all that matters once you get there.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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