Which Tony Romo will show up to play the Giants on Sunday? Your guess is as good as Mathias Kiwanuka's.
The Giants linebacker, who has faced Romo twice a year for most of his career, called the Cowboys quarterback "a streaky guy" who is "very up and down" and just as likely to put up career numbers as he is to lay an egg.
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"I don't think you can look at the trajectory of his season or his career at any point,'' Kiwanuka said, "because at any point, he's liable to go out and throw for 400 or 500 yards or he can, you know, have a game that's just as bad as any he's ever had. So for us, we have to make sure we prepare for his best and try to get him out of his rhythm."
Romo has had some stinkers in his career. In the Sept. 5 season opener, he had a three-touchdown, 307-yard performance against the Giants with a passer rating of 129.5. But he also had a five-interception game against the Bears on Oct. 1.
His best game this season, though, was the one against the Giants.
"He made some plays with his feet, which is classic Tony, and stayed alive," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "I think that they had a good plan and they executed their plan better than we played."
The Giants tend to bring out the best in Romo. He is 5-5 as a starter against the Giants and has thrown for 24 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He has four 300-yard passing games and three four-touchdown games.
Romo may be erratic overall, but against the Giants, he seems to buck that trend.
"He plays pretty well against us," linebacker Chase Blackburn said.
"We seem to do the same thing [against other quarterbacks]. Michael Vick didn't have a turnover against us, either. For whatever reason, he's able to make plays against us and we have to work to make sure that it doesn't happen again."
Not everyone on the Giants is as uncertain about Romo.
"He's an excellent quarterback in my eyes," safety Antrel Rolle said. "I don't think he gets the credit that he deserves. When I watch film on him each and every night, some of the throws he makes . . . it just still stuns me. He's very, very accurate. He has a very quick release and more importantly, he has dangerous stars he can get the ball to, whether it's the running back, whether it's the tight end, whether it's the receivers."
Justin Tuck added that Romo always seems to rise up against the Giants, even when he's playing poorly.
"Throw that out the window against us," he said. "I believe he'll have his A-game against us."
Romo might deliver that. He might not. There's no way to predict it, Kiwanuka said. Just because Romo is playing well doesn't mean he'll continue to do so. Projections do not apply to this quarterback.
"It's not cyclical," he said. "It's very up and down. He can get on a roll in a game that he's not expected to win and come out looking great."
Kiwanuka didn't finish the thought, but it's clear that he believes the opposite possibility also is very much in play. And that the Giants can have a hand in bringing the worst out of Romo.
"We know what it takes to beat them," Kiwanuka said. "We just have to make sure we get it done."