Tom Rock Tom Rock

Rock covers the New York Giants. Previously covered college sports and outdoors.

Antrel Rolle says the Giants aren't the best team in football. But when it comes to who the best team on the field will be Sunday in Dallas, he has no doubts.

The Giants get their first chance at redemption this season with an opportunity to atone for their opening-night loss to the Cowboys. That, Rolle said in his weekly radio spot on WFAN on Tuesday, is what will drive the Giants to retain their grip on first place in the NFC East.

"We didn't like going out and losing that game," Rolle said. "Our first game at home, Wednesday night game, all the bright lights were shined on us and they came here and they whupped our butts fair and square. They were definitely the better team that night. And we will show them who is the better team come Sunday night."

The Giants are in a comfy position now with a 5-2 record, but a loss Sunday paired with an Eagles win would put the Giants just a half-game up on both the Cowboys and Eagles in the division. All three then would be tied in the loss column, with the Giants at a disadvantage having been swept by Dallas and having lost to the Eagles. Plus they'd have only two games left in the NFC East to make up head-to-head ground. The Giants are 1-2 in the division and none of the other teams slugging it out with them have played anyone else but the Giants.

The Giants have some difficult competition in the second half of the season, including playoff rematches with the Packers and Falcons, a game against the Ravens, and a prime-time rematch with Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. The best thing they can do for their playoff hopes now is to put some distance between themselves and their rivals and hope those games in late December are for playoff seeding and not survival.

The rest of the division, at that time, will be devouring itself.

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"It's the nature of this division," Tom Coughlin said Monday. "It doesn't get easy, it's tough. Each of these games is a battle . . . These division games are very exciting. You pinpoint each one of those."

The Giants' pins are particularly pointy for this game. They believe that the game the Cowboys beat them, 24-17, on Sept. 5, was not a true representation of the team they are now.

"We're going to go in and we're going to play ball," Rolle said. "We owe those guys. That first game of the season, I don't think we were playing Giants football at all. I think we've gotten back to somewhere [close to] playing Giants football and trying to get this win streak going a little bit."

Rolle said he didn't pay much attention to Jerry Jones' boast in the preseason, inviting fans to Cowboys Stadium for this game in particular to watch his Cowboys "kick the Giants' [butts]." He dismissed those remarks because they have nothing to do with what will happen on the field Sunday.

"We really don't pay that any attention because we all know that he hasn't put on a helmet and I don't know if he ever did, to be honest with you," Rolle said.

When it was pointed out in the interview that Jones did play college football at Arkansas in the early 1960s, Rolle shrugged and said: "Yeah, I wasn't born then."

This game isn't about an owner putting up a wanted poster for Rolle. It's about rectifying a wrong from the opener. And while much of the talk between the teams for the opener was about who was kicking whose butt, Rolle is targeting a little higher this time around.

"We're going to go out there and we're going to play our game," he said. "We're going to play very effective, we're going to play very confident, and we're going out there ready to be some head-busters. That's about it."