NEW YORK: The New York Giants rallied to sneak past Dallas 10-7 in a defensive battle on Sunday (Monday in Manila), snapping the Cowboys’ 11-game win streak and giving the Giants’ playoff hopes a boost.
Not only did the Giants sweep the season series by handing the Cowboys just their second loss of the campaign but they also prevented Dallas from clinching the NFC West.
“At some point you got to wake up,” said Giants receiver Odell Beckham. “We all knew what was on the line. We just weren’t doing enough in the first half but the defense is really what held us together.”
Beckham said the Cowboys had a celebration all planned with commemorative hats and shirts to put on if they clinched the division title on Sunday night at the Giants MetLife Stadium.
“The coach talked about it all week. Them having their box of goods, the hats the shirts and he said it is not going to happen on this field. Sure enough it didn’t happen. We came out and did what we had to do,” Beckham said.
The win follows a 20-19 New York win in September as the Giants swept the Cowboys for the first time in five years.
The Giants overcame a 7-0 halftime deficit by scoring 10 unanswered points in the second half.
Dallas was sloppy with their ball handling as receiver Dez Bryant fumbled on his first catch of the game which came in the fourth quarter. Moments later Giants Leon Hall intercepted a pass intended for Bryant and New York was off to the races.
Elsewhere Sunday, Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns to reignite the Green Bay Packers postseason push in a 38-10 rout of the Seattle Seahawks.
Rodgers made 18 of 23 for 246 yards as the Seahawks were sent spinning to their heaviest defeat of the season at a frigid Lambeau Field where everything went wrong for quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson was picked off five times as the Seahawks fell to 8-4-1, dealing Pete Carroll’s team a stinging reality check as they head for the playoffs.
The Packers meanwhile improved to 7-6, leaving them with renewed hope of making the postseason after their third consecutive victory following a four-game losing streak.
Seattle meanwhile will get the chance to bounce back rapidly when they host a Los Angeles Rams team on Thursday who are mired in crisis.
The Rams, struggling to find reasons for optimism after a difficult first season back in Los Angeles, were humiliated 42-14 at home by the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Broncos in peril
In Tennessee, reigning Super Bowl champions Denver suffered a blow to their hopes of a playoff berth after slumping to a 13-10 defeat at Tennessee.
An ill-tempered game marred by a brawl involving Denver cornerback Aqib Talib saw the Titans hang on for a gritty victory at the Nissan Stadium.
The contest was settled in Tennessee’s favour with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter when Avery Williamson stripped A.J. Derby to force a fumble and hand possession to the Titans.
The Titans had taken a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter following an early DeMarco Murray touchdown and two field goals from Ryan Succop.
The main talking point of the first half was a protracted melee triggered shortly after Titans receiver Harry Douglas flew into Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr with a wild block below the knee.
Broncos enforcer Talib sought out Douglas in the next play, triggering an ugly scuffle.
“It was a dirty play by a sorry player,” Talib told reporters. “He tried to do something dirty, so that’s why I’m going to beat his ass.”
Harris later wrote on Twitter that he felt Douglas had tried to “end my career” with the tackle, calling for the Titans player to be fined.
The Broncos are now languishing in third spot in the AFC West on 8-5 behind Kansas City and Oakland who are 10-3.
They face a daunting final three games of the regular season — against both the Chiefs and the Raiders as well as the New England Patriots.
If the Broncos fail to snaffle a wild card place they will become the latest team to fall victim to the so-called “Super Bowl curse” which has seen various franchises suffer in the seasons following their respective triumphs.