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Jones: Giants Never Lost Faith, And Now They Have Their Chance

By Kimberly Jones
» More Columns

Over the past two days in Dallas, the owner of the Cowboys has made two proclamations: Jason Garrett will return as coach in 2014, and he – Jones -- hopes to continue in his current role as owner/general manager for another 15-20 years.

The Cowboys have won one playoff game since 1997, and it would appear to be interesting timing for their owner to go big picture with this season, and this NFC East, so unsettled. It's probably worth noting that Jones made the comment about himself on his weekly radio show.

Meanwhile, Giants players talk more than their owner -- it's always been that way -- and their message this week has been crystal-clear and focused solely on their upcoming 60 minutes on the field Sunday.

It's their Super Bowl.

As Jason Pierre-Paul said, "It ain't no playoff game. It's like a Super Bowl to us."

And in longer form: When the Giants fell to 0-6, they remained the most optimistic, united locker room you'll ever find. But they were realistic. They knew they had to turn it around, and fast.

Because the Giants never lost faith and always believed, here they are, on Sunday, with a chance they could have only hoped for a month ago.

In the Giants' locker room, players wear T-shirts with "Do it for your brother" written on the back. That was a Tom Coughlin creation, the shirts given out in training camp.

This season, that ideal has served the Giants well. We'll know Sunday how far they can take it.

Doppler radar: Someone once said, "Weather has never been more important." On Sunday, with the forecast for temperatures hovering around 30 and winds gusting to 26 miles per hour, there is no doubt Mother Nature could have an effect on the game.

The Giants' players seem to believe, as you would suspect, that inclement weather favors the group used to playing in the Northeast. As Andre Brown said, "Hopefully Dallas won't like it being cold, and it's an advantage for us. But it is what it is."

Defending Romo: Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said there's no secret to defending Tony Romo. And he made it sound like there's no strategy, either.

"You just have to hope he has a bad day," Fewell said Thursday.

In 15 career games against the Giants, Romo is 7-8 with 29 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He's thrown more touchdowns and more picks against the Giants than any other team.

"He's seen it all," Fewell said. "In my mind, he's like Peyton (Manning) and Tom Brady and those guys. He's been in the league for a long time. He's seen every coverage known to man. So yeah, you'll try to disguise and do some things, but they employ a pretty quick game against us. I know they threw the ball like over 30 or 40 times against us in the first ballgame and he was getting the ball out quick.

"So it depends on the approach that he comes out with and what philosophy they're going to come out with, because you can disguise and you can disguise yourself out of position."

Here's the fascinating game within the game on Sunday -- at least to us. The Giants' defense was a step ahead in film study, which set the stage for them to make plays against the Packers. As Pierre-Paul noted after the game, he identified the formation in the huddle and delivered the remarkable pick-six. On a play where Prince Amukamara caught Eddie Lacy in the backfield, he recognized the play from studied "tendency plays" that Terrell Thomas tracks.

Can the Giants, and their more improved and more studious defense, stay a step ahead of Romo on Sunday? Can the Giants defense again change a game?

Captain Reed: Given Rex Ryan's track record, here's an easy prediction that others have also made: Ed Reed will be a captain on Sunday at Baltimore.

Reed is going back to Baltimore, again. He returned in Week 3 when the Texans visited the Ravens, and the Baltimore fans gave him a rousing ovation.

This week, with the Jets looking for a bounce-back game, they'll need Reed to do what he's always done -- help defend the deep ball. The Jets know Joe Flacco will take shots downfield.  And the Jets have already surrendered 33 plays of at least 20 yards.

"We spent extra time this week, preparing how do we play the ball when it's down the field," Ryan said. "We have to take on the personality of the receiver and play the ball just like a receiver does."

Reed said he does take it as a personal challenge to help correct those issues.

"I do and reiterated that to the secondary and we talked about it amongst ourselves," Reed said. "There has to be a conscious effort, but at the same time this is the NFL. It's a professional league. They get paid to make plays as well, so you have to go out there and perform to the best of your ability. They're going to get plays. It's no different.

"I've been in a couple secondaries now and every secondary says the same thing: 'You can't give up the deep ball.' So, that's something you have to take upon yourself as an individual to make sure that you don't give up a play."

Asked if it would be "cool" to pick off a pass against the Ravens, Reed said, "I just want to win a ballgame. I haven't been on a team that's won a football game since the Super Bowl, so this will be special."

The Texans were 0-7 with Reed, and the Jets are 0-1.

Quote of the Week: "C'mon, man. It's Dallas." – Hakeem Nicks, who is listed as questionable with an abdominal injury, when asked if he is playing Sunday.

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