There's been a lot of talk in Dallas this week about this being a "Prove It" game for Jason Garrett, Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys.
Adversity exists because of injuries to key players and doubts about the Cowboys being more than a group of talented disappointments. But the team is still 3-3 with a chance to sweep the season series from the Giants while moving back within a game of the division lead. It's the kind of moment that has brought nothing but failure for the Cowboys in the past, which makes it a perfect time to prove things are different.
There's no such pressure on the Giants. They've won three straight games and look a lot like the team that won the Super Bowl last season, so there's not much for them to prove other than that they like playing in Dallas a lot more than they like playing in the brand-new stadium that's been embraced in these parts with all the enthusiasm of a case of shingles.
Having said that, it wouldn't be a bad week for Tom Coughlin to find a way for his team to put together the kind of complete performance that we saw against the 49ers a couple of weeks ago. Leaving things up to Eli Manning every week against inferior competition gets pretty old and it is a pretty good recipe for a couple of bounces going the other way just in time to ruin the season.
Now, you might say that this isn't part of the conversation here since the Cowboys don't quite fall into the category of inferior teams after beating the Giants on opening night. That Cowboys team had Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray,though, and those Giants were playing Justin Tryon in the secondary on the biggest plays of the game.
Things have shifted and the Giants are clearly the more talented team of the two squaring off at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday. What better way to signify that than with a blowout win that sends the Cowboys into a wicked tailspin and sets the Giants up with a huge lead in the division halfway through the season.
Beyond that, seeing the team hitting on all cylinders would make it a little easier to put off any creeping thoughts about the looming start of another Coughlin second half. While we're well aware that failing in the second half doesn't always spell gloom for the Giants, entering the back of the schedule with ample breathing room would be an awfully reassuring change of pace from past seasons.
The good news is that another tight win would count all the same in the standings even if it didn't eliminate the fear that dancing on the tightrope might have negative ramifications down the road.