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Five Minutes...Five Questions...on Cowboys


1) Justin Tuck seems to have turned a corner. What impact will he have this week both from a leadership standpoint as well as his play on the field?

RASKIN: Coach Tom Coughlin put it best when he said the most-important thing that Tuck can provide is leadership by example. It's obvious that the man has been playing through a lot of pain, but when people see Tuck, a veteran captain, sucking up those injuries through an entire week of practice, the message is pretty clear: Nobody cares if you're hurt. On the field, Tuck remains one of the team's best run defenders. Dave Tollefson and Jason Pierre-Paul have rushed the passer well in his absence, but Tuck's presence is critical to stopping the run.

2) The Cowboys had an interesting game against the Eagles last week from Romo's injury to packing it up once the news spread of a Giants' victory. Was that in fact a meaningless game, or have the Cowboys lost some momentum since routing Tampa Bay two weeks ago?

RASKIN: The Cowboys are a lot like the Giants. They're schizophrenic teams that's capable of playing up to their competition or down to their competition. The important thing for Dallas is creating room for their receivers to work. Tony Romo is going to find his targets when they get separation, but a lot of other things have to be going well for that to happen, particularly in the running game. I wouldn't say they lost their momentum, I'd question whether they really had any to begin with because I see a different team every week.

3) Which team has the better receiving corps?

RASKIN: You can't say enough about what Hakeem Nicks has done this year. Victor Cruz has the yardage and some bigger plays on his resume, and Nicks has had some unfortunate drops recently, but the former Tar Heel is starting to remind me of another No. 88, Michael Irvin, with the way he fights for the football. Nicks gets tackled three times on every play. He gets jammed at the line, he gets hit as he catches it and then another defensive back usually has to come over to finish the job. I don't see too many receivers around the league that can fight like he can. Obviously Cruz has been electric this year and Mario Manningham is still very effective, but nobody stands out like Nicks.

For the Cowboys, Dez Bryant, Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin are physically gifted, but I don't think any receiver in this discussion is quite the package that Nicks is.

I'd give a narrow edge to the Giants. They might not have the physical gifts of the Dallas receivers, but they've found other ways to produce.

4) Who is more scrutinized – Eli or Tony?

RASKIN: Eli Manning gets scrutinized for being from a famous football family, but the fact that he's won a Super Bowl alleviates a lot of the criticism some people would otherwise be sending his way.

Romo gets scrutinized more because he hasn't won a title even though he's been blessed with some great weapons. He's played well, but when you're the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, it's not enough to win a division title.

5) The Giants had some disappointing home losses this season while the signature wins have come on the road. Will the home field actually be an advantage this Sunday night?

RASKIN: I'd say it's a neutral situation. The Giants home losses have been games where they lacked energy. I don't think that has to do with playing at home, but whatever the reason is, there's no excuse for a repeat of any of those performances on Sunday night. The big road wins have all been games that sort of jumped out at you on a schedule. Maybe the team was more focused then, but it's hard to imagine that they're not focused for a win-and-in game against the Dallas Cowboys.

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