But that was before Dan Bailey missed a 49-yarder at the end of regulation in what would be an overtime loss to the Cardinals and certainly before the Cowboys blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead in the final five minutes of a 37-34 loss to the Giants.
Bailey's 47-yard attempt to put the game into overtime was blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul, enabling the Giants to get in the driver's seat for the NFC East title.
Now the Cowboys are riding a two-game losing streak and sitting in a first-place tie with the Giants atop the division with 7-6 records.
"Hats off to the Giants," owner Jerry Jones said. "They didn't quit. They were able to come back and played well and got the win. We are disappointed and we certainly know we have our work cut out for us."
The Giants would be the division champs if the playoffs started now with the Cowboys sitting at home. They are behind the Lions (8-5) and Falcons (8-5) in the wild-card playoff chase.
The Cowboys have three remaining games against the Buccaneers, Eagles and at the Giants in the season finale. The Cowboys could win the division title if they win out.
But they gave the Giants hope and the inside track. Remember, this was a Giants team that came to the game riding a four-game losing streak.
Now they just need two win two of their final three games, including the season finale at home against the Cowboys to claim the NFC East title.
"It's a division game," said receiver Laurent Robinson. "It was for first place in the NFC East. It's tough. It's a hard pill to swallow."
What would you expect from a Cowboys team that has traditionally slumped in December?
Since Tony Romo took over as the starting quarterback in 2006, the Cowboys are 12-17 after November, including the postseason. Romo is 9-15, including a 1-3 playoff record.
"What we need to do is win this thing," Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said. "We have to win in December. We have three games left. This is not October; this is December. Like our legends say, this is the dash for the cash. To get to where we want to be, we have to win."
TRENDING: The Cowboys' defense has given up a 100-yard receiver for four straight weeks, capped by the 154 yards on seven catches by the Giants' Hakeem Nicks on Sunday.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Giants and Eli Manning have won all three games played at Cowboys Stadium since it opened three years ago. In the three games, Manning has completed 77 of 120 passes for 1,036 yards with eight touchdowns, four interceptions and a 99.9 passer rating.
ROSTER REPORT: RB DeMarco Murray has been lost for the season with a high ankle sprain and fractured ankle. He rushed five times for 25 yards against the Giants before suffering the injury. He has 897 yards for the season.
* WR Laurent Robinson went back to being the Cowboys' third receiver after Miles Austin returned from injury. But he remained a top target of quarterback Tony Romo with four catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. He now has eight touchdowns on the season.
* C Phil Costa suffered a concussion against the Giants. He was replaced by rookie Kevin Kowalski. His status for Saturday's game agaisnt the Buccaneers on six days rest is unknown.
* RB Felix Jones had 16 carries for 106 yards against the Giants after being pressed into action following the loss of rookie DeMarco Murray to a fractured ankle. It was Jones' third career 100-yard game.
* K Dan Bailey seemingly bounced back from the previous week's missed 49-yarder in the fourth quarter in 19-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals with two 49-yarders against the Giants Sunday night. But for the second straight week he missed a big field goal on the team's final possession as his 47-yarder in the final seconds was blocked in a 37-34 loss to the Giants.
Monday news and notes
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