Giants know they must beat Cowboys to have any chance at playoffs

Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas speaks with the media

Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas speaks with the media before a day of team training camp. (Credit: James Escher)

Antrel Rolle didn't go there. The safety said he is not allowing himself to even imagine a loss to the Cowboys Sunday, but he never said the words.

Jason Pierre-Paul didn't go there either, although he came close. "I was almost going to say we're going to win it," he said earlier this week. "You never know."

On Friday, Terrell Thomas spoke the phrase that ripples through rivalries like none other. He didn't predict effort, didn't predict intensity, didn't even merely predict blood, as Pierre-Paul has several times. He predicted a victory.

"No doubt," the cornerback said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "We're going to win this game."

Thomas went on to say that he doesn't care who knows it or what the Cowboys might think of his statement.

"You can tell them, put it on the bulletin board, it doesn't matter," he said, "because we have to win this game. Our season is on the line right now."

It is. Despite starting 0-6, the Giants still can plot a course to the division title without winning all six remaining regular-season games. But not winning Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium would pretty much destroy any hope. It would be nearly impossible to leapfrog two teams in the division -- the Cowboys and Eagles -- with five games remaining and none against either of those opponents.

It's that strange mix of desperation and confidence that has gotten the Giants so riled up this week. They've been barking at the Cowboys since the minutes after they beat the Packers last Sunday and set up this critical meeting.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, have been relatively quiet.

"You know they have something to say every time we play them," Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware told reporters in Dallas this week. "They try to put the gas on the fire every time. It's an NFC East game, that's what we do."

Thomas went on to say in his SiriusXM interview that he thought the loss to Dallas in the opener set the tone for the Giants' 0-6 start. He also said that after the Giants' four straight victories against quarterbacks who did not begin the season as that team's starter, this game is a chance for the defense to show what it can do against a full-fledged (and fully healthy) NFL quarterback in Tony Romo.

And, Thomas noted, it's an opportunity for Eli Manning and the offense to make up for the five turnovers (plus a sixth one on special teams) that plagued them in September in Dallas.

"This is kind of a redemption game for us," Thomas said. "Everything is clicking for us right now. Come Sunday, you're going to get the best out of the Giants."

And that, Thomas clearly believes, is better than what the Cowboys can offer up.

Notes & quotes: Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (abdomen) and running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) are listed as questionable . . . With temperatures expected to be on the frigid side Sunday, the Giants hope they will have an advantage. "Hopefully, Dallas won't like it being cold," running back Andre Brown said.

With Anthony Rieber

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