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Giants Cowboys Preview: Big Blue Has Run Out of Tomorrows

The result of the Cowboys game will foreshadow the result of the Giants season

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Dec 9, 2011  |  Updated 5:44 PM EDT
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Bradshaw's return gave the Giants a different look last weekend.

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There's really no need to dress up what's at stake for the Cowboys on Sunday night:

Win and they've got the inside track on the NFC East title with momentum on their side after a strong game against the Packers. Lose and they're two games out of first with three games to play with a five-game losing streak, creating all kinds of doubts about Tom Coughlin's future.

Things rarely get as cut and dry as that. Depending on your point of view, that's either a good or a bad thing.

If you're the sort who sees the glass as half empty, the chance to save a season of mediocrity with 60 minutes of good football against a flawed team seems like a gift from the heavens. Teams rarely get a chance to redeem themselves after blowing as many opportunities to separate from the pack as the Giants have been given this season.

A more pessimistic view would look at the warts of the Giants and see nothing worse than a team as unpredictable as this in a position where they have to play their best game without any margin for error. All of those missed opportunities referenced above have made it clear that this isn't a team you can rely on to show up at its best when the moment calls for it.

That's why you've heard so much chatter about how Ahmad Bradshaw's return last week changed the profile of the team. They didn't run all that much better than they did at any other point this season, but they showed more of the identity of a team that wasn't willing to simply sit back and wait for Eli Manning to win a game in the final minutes. 

Although the result of the Green Bay game wasn't any different than the previous three, that mindset was a big change and a big step in the right direction. For too much of this season. the Giants have been all too happy to either wallow in excuses for why the team is flawed or rely solely on their high performing players without the rest of the team taking responsibility for what they can do to change the outcome of games.

They can't change anything about the players who are missing nor can they do anything about the overall talent level at this point in the proceedings, but they can show up and leave nothing in reserve with their season on the line.

It might not be enough to win on Sunday or to win the division. We already know the alternative won't get it done, though, so it is the only chance they've got.

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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