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Giants treating Cowboys game like a Super Bowl

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin is tackled

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin is tackled by Giants defensive end Justin Tuck during the first half. (Sept. 8, 2013) Credit: AP

The Giants are still taking this season one game at a time. It's just that Sunday's game against Dallas seems to mean a whole lot more than any of the others have, or even will.

"I feel like this game is definitely going to determine the outcome of our season," Antrel Rolle said Wednesday, one of many Giants who slathered the game between 5-5 and 4-6 teams with significance.

Players were hyping a game that, under normal circumstances, would engender passion. Each team wants to keep pace with the first-place Eagles (who have a bye), and the loser could have its season sunk.

Some might even say it's a playoff game. Jason Pierre-Paul said that's selling it short. "This is a big game coming up. This is like a Super Bowl to us," the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week said. "We need it badly. We've got to get it."

Even those who are trying to keep perspective on the game acknowledge it's not always easy to do so.

"We've played a lot of huge games on some big stages, but you play Dallas, they're America's Team," Justin Tuck said. "Dallas holds that special place when it comes to very competitive, very meaningful games."

The Giants' 2007 Super Bowl title went through Dallas in the divisional round. The teams also played in Week 17 in 2011, a winner-take-all contest. The Giants won that one, too. In the last seven seasons, they are 9-6 against the Cowboys, including the playoffs.

"Anytime you've done something once against a certain opponent, you always feel confident about the next time you play them," Brandon Jacobs said. "And vice versa. Those guys have had success against us as well. I don't think in critical moments they have."

This certainly rates as a critical moment. After their 0-6 start, the Giants are almost back. "This is where we wanted to be four, five weeks ago, work ourselves back into the mix and have a chance to win this division," Eli Manning said.

On opening night at Dallas, the Giants committed six turnovers and lost, 36-31. "We had, quite frankly, just kind of wrapped it up and handed it to them," Tom Coughlin said.

Cornerback Terrell Thomas said he thinks they can flip the script on Dallas from that night in September.

"The biggest thing is we have to capitalize on turnovers and our offense has to control the ball," Thomas said. "When you put them in a situation where they can't dictate, they're not that good of a team. Their defense is not playing that well right now. Hopefully, our offense can expose them and we can continue making turnovers. Obviously, when we do that, we win."

For the Giants, victory is the only outcome they'll accept.

"It's a must-win game," Rolle said. "There is no room for error whatsoever. My mind does not even factor in a loss. I don't see it. I'm not trying to even picture it. I'm just making sure I keep my eye on the prize."

It's one game at a time, Rolle said. But clearly not all games are created equal.

New York Sports