New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys. Week 12 of the NFL season. Both teams, mediocre records aside, fighting desperately for position in a wide-open NFC East. The meeting Sunday at MetLife Stadium is a HUGE regular-season football game. Don't, however, try to get Giants coach Tom Coughlin to add to the hype.
"Every game in this league is the most important game of the year," Coughlin said during his weekly Wednesday press conference.
There is, of course, little doubt that the division standings, with the 4-6 Giants and 5-5 Cowboys chasing the 6-5 Philadelphia Eagles, adds to the significance. The Giants, of course, have made the game even more interesting by rising from the depths of an 0-6 start to at least give themselves a chance to play meaningful football games during the latter stages of the season.
"This is what you play for. You play for this. You play for the opportunity to be in games that are important," Coughlin said.
"We're excited about this opportunity. We're very much aware of having dug ourselves a very, very deep hole, have started to make a little bit of progress to get out. It's nice that we do have a challenge of this nature, we call it an opportunity.
"All we can do, we have a six-game schedule, one game at a time. Just prepare ourselves the best we possibly can for each opponent, do the very, very best we can and hopefully keep our dreams alive."
Asked about the season-opening loss to the Cowboys, in which the Giants turned the ball over six times, Coughlin said the Giants "quite frankly, just kind of wrapped it up and handed it to 'em."
Coughlin said he was "just starting to hear" the talk that the Giants' four-game winning streak was partially a product of playing against teams with poor quarterbacks.
"We're looking forward to playing the game," Coughlin said. "We know full well what Tony Romo's been able to accomplish.
"These games have a way of being tooth-and-nail, they go right to the end and we're looking forward to the challenge."
The Giants' 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday was probably their most complete game so far this season, but it wasn't without flaw.
"We're all looking for our best game. I don't think we've played it yet," Coughlin said. "The idea of all three phases playing as well as they can and accomplishing things at a very high level we're still looking for.
"The goal is perfection. We're not going to attain it, we're human, but that's the objective."
Five Giants will not practice Wednesday. Fullback John Conner and cornerback Trumaine McBride (hip flexors), Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), Brandon Jacobs (knee) and Terrell Thomas (knee). Cornerback Corey Webster (groin/ankle) will try to practice on a limited basis.