EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In only 21 days, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants have undergone a startling transformation.
Three weeks ago, the Giants had a two-game lead over Dallas in the NFC East as they prepared for a showdown with the Chicago Bears for supremacy in the NFC.
The Cowboys (4-4) were in flux. Bill Parcells was looking old. T.O was being T.O. Tony Romo was 1-1 since replacing Drew Bledsoe at quarterback, and there were many who questioned whether Jerry Jones' club would even make the playoffs after a last-second loss at Washington.
Fast forward and the picture has changed dramatically as they head into an NFC East showdown at Giants Stadium today.
The Giants (6-5) are in turmoil after losing three straight, capped by a 24-21 gift to the Titans during which they blew a 21-point fourth-quarter lead. Players are griping and there are questions brewing about Tom Coughlin's future as coach.
Dallas (7-4) and Romo have become America's darlings once again with a three-game winning streak that has given them a one-game lead over the Giants in the division. It's the NFL at its inconsistent best.
"It just seems like you don't really know what's going to happen any week that you go out there," Parcells said. "We were struggling, there isn't any doubt about it. I got a lot of calls from a lot of my ex-players -- letters, e-mails, calls and some personal visits."
The support picked up Parcells, and Romo did the rest. In the last three games, he has thrown seven touchdowns and one interception. His 110.8 quarterback rating is the NFL's best. Dallas' defense also has picked its game, giving up 34 points in the winning streak.
"There's always next week and that's one of the great things about the game," Parcells said. "It can be a very exciting thing and it can also be very humbling."
The last time the teams met, the Giants humbled the Cowboys 36-22 in front of a national audience on Monday night.