New York State of Mind

If it's even possible to be more smooth and silky than Alicia Keys' pipes, Felix Jones must attempt the feat in the Big Apple Sunday evening. As much as the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty are staples of the New York metropolitan landscape, Jones has to 'landmark' and embed the Cowboys offense in similar fashion if Dallas wants to capture the NFC East Division crown. Felix needs to capitalize on this opportunity as did DeMarco Murray when asked to step in for an injured Jones earlier this season. Jones doesn't need a recording-setting performance as Murray unveiled against the Rams, but Felix must consistently move the chains and keep drives alive with his feet. His availability, from 1st to 4th quarter, is as vital as air to the human being in this tilt. Any injury, ding or knick must be overcome with a desire and will to win. Someone might want to pop Emmitt's 'all guts' performance into Felix's laptop or I-pad for extra incentive. It may take a performance of that magnitude to prevail.

The difference in this game, good or bad, will be the Giants defensive front four and LB Michale Boley. This is by far the strength of the New York Football Giants. These guys must be neutralized. They pose the biggest threat to Tony Romo and his banged up offensive line. Tony Romo, especially with injury at hand (throwing, none-the-less), must be kept clean as possible in the pocket. The Cowboys offensive line will most certainly have their hands full. Outside of protection, the other way you neutralize or stop stellar pass rush is to establish a formidable and effective running game. This is where Felix Jones comes into play. While nowhere near the same team defensively, Jones and Sammy Morris must run as hard and effectively as they churned in Tampa Bay. That burst and extra effort will be needed to keep the Giants offense on the sidelines. The final outcome will most likely rest on Romo's arm and/or Bailey's foot, but all the in-between stuff rests squarely on Felix Jones and his ability to monopolize time of possession.

If Jones truly wants to endear himself to the Cowboys Nation, he must fight through everything Sunday night. It's Felix's propensity to find the sidelines with unnerving frequency that has the Fandom uneasy. The Cowboys must hope Jones has the staying power necessary to be the great equalizer in this match for all the marbles. For if the Cowboys have to resort to a Morris and Chauncey Washington one-two punch, the Giants will send a fierce, constant and ferocious pass rush. That does not bode well for an already-injured Tony Romo.

Like the Cowboys, the Giants' Achilles Heel is their defensive secondary. If Romo has enough time in the pocket and can be kept clean, he can exploit the Giants' depleted ranks. With the Cowboys receivers' ability to beat one-on-one coverage, the Cowboys should consider max-protecting Romo more frequently than not. An extra TE attempting to quell the Giants pass rush is not necessarily a bad thing. The offensive play calling will be scrutinized to the fullest. Jason Garrett will be squarely in the cross-hairs and under the microscope like no other time in his short, head-coaching career. Count on a full Chris Collinsworth lamb-baste to let you know exactly where things stand as the contest unfolds. He won't mince words or opinions.

One shot. That's all any athlete or team wants. Ask David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals (apologies to the Rangers Faithful), Michael Jordan, Mario Lemieux, or Don Larsen. Every sports-loving girl or boy has played out the scenario in front of a mirror or in the backyard. Hundreds of times. Special athletes want the ball in crunch time. There are no more chances come Sunday evening. It's all or nothing for the two combatants. Redemption is a wonderful thing, especially when tides change or directions reverse, and the Cowboys have a chance to avenge earlier 'clinching' opportunities. There are no excuses, just who wants it more. These are games and times where mind and heart have to completely take over any bodily drawbacks. As Jimmy Johnson used to routinely espouse as he zig-zagged his way through stretching players at numerous Cowboys' training camps, "Let your mind control your body, don't let the body control the mind." This is simply a contest of will and want. What will the Cowboys bring to the NYC table?

Back to the Dallas Cowboys Newsfeed