*Giants.com breaks down the state of the team following Sunday nights win: *
The Cowboys are 11-Blue.
In a rematch of the season opener, the Giants are now responsible for their NFC East rival's only two losses of the season, defeating Dallas 10-7 on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. With the win, the Giants improved to 9-4 in their postseason hunt and locked up a winning record for the first time since 2012.
"This is how you need to win them in December," first-year coach Ben McAdoo said. "It's not going to always be pretty. It's going to be in the elements. You stick together, stick with each other and keep believing."
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Clinging to a three-point lead, the Giants made a series of stops on three Cowboys possessions in the final 4:40 of the game. On the first, Dallas went three-and-out and punted. On the second, Janoris Jenkins forced a fumble on Dez Bryant that Landon Collins recovered. On the final one, the Giants forced four straight incompletions from Dak Prescott to take over on downs with 48 seconds remaining and kneel down for the victory.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Shut out in the first half for the second week in a row, the Giants needed a spark after their first nine drives yielded six punts, two lost fumbles, and a field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3 with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Odell Beckham Jr. stepped up. Like he has so many times, the fastest player in NFL history to 3,000 receiving yards took a short slant from Eli Manning and won a foot race against cornerback Brandon Carr for a 61-yard touchdown. His 34th career score proved to be the game-winner and moved him ahead of Plaxico Burress (33) for the most touchdowns caught Eli Manning.
In two games against the Giants this season, Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant was held to two catches for 18 yards. Much of the credit goes to Jenkins, who shadowed him and forced a fumble on his only reception Sunday night. As a result, Dallas went 1 of 15 on third down.
Dwayne Harris downed two of Brad Wing's punts at the three-yard line, the second of which pinned Dallas back for its final drive that began with 1:06 left on the clock. Wing tied a career-high with five punts inside the 20 (he also had five in Cleveland in Week 12).
AROUND THE LOCKER ROOM
"I was running as fast as ever. I felt someone chasing me. I had to hit another gear. My hamstrings got a little tight, but it was a real race. I really had to run." – Beckham on his catch-and-run touchdown
"That's why they call me Jackrabbit." – Jenkins when asked about his performance
"You can't really replace a guy of his caliber, but I just went in there and did my job." – undrafted rookie Romeo Okwara, who filled in for Jason Pierre-Paul and recorded a team-high eight tackles (1.5 for loss), three quarterback hits, a pass defensed and a sack in his first NFL start
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE GIANTS
The Giants are the only team in the NFL to beat the Cowboys this season, and now they've done it twice. Sweeping the series for the first time since their 2011 championship run, the Giants held onto the first Wild Card spot after not receiving any help around the league before their primetime bout. Tampa Bay (8-5), Washington (7-5-1), Minnesota (7-6), and Green Bay (7-6) all won before the Giants and Cowboys kicked off at MetLife Stadium. Next up for Big Blue is Detroit, which leads the NFC North with a matching 9-4 record. That will be the Giants' final home game before finishing on the road against Philadelphia and Washington.
"Well, I think that everything is in front of us," linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said. "I think that we can be as good as we want to be. As long as we keep our head down and keep grinding away – it is still a long season. We have some games left and I am planning on playing in January. That is the goal right now, to get through December and play in January."
These five players made a key impact in Sunday's game
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE COWBOYS
For the first time since Sept. 11, the Cowboys tasted defeat. Since then, Dallas had won 11 consecutive games to build the best record in the league. The team had already wrapped up a playoff berth entering Sunday, but the NFC East title will have to wait. The Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium in Week 15 for another Sunday night game against the Buccaneers.
"You never want to say it's good to lose, me particularly—I hate to lose," rookie quarterback Dak Prescott said. "It's a bad feeling, but I mean it kind of gets you resettled, gets you back right. I mean after we lost to these guys the first time, we went on that run, so maybe we can do something similar."
"It would be lovely to see them again," rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott said when asked if he would like another rematch down the road. "But we can't control that, so it's really something I can't answer.**"