It's Go Time

What more needs to be said? This is what players live for; a chance to be a champion. In the NFL, you must be invited to the postseason party.

There were only 12 bids handed out, and now the collection is down to eight. A quarter of the NFL is still alive and seeking the Lombardi Trophy. So, who wants it more?

It's really that simple.

Sure, the soap opera scripts continue at Valley Ranch, and they will as long as the Cowboys remain championship eligible. The script content (other than T.O.'s health) and storylines don't matter. It's time to strap it on and play football. The Dallas Cowboys are in a very unique position due to their talent and regular season success. Two home wins, in back-to-back weeks, and they're headed to Glendale, AZ to meet the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.

Pretty sweet, huh?

Expectations are high, and the potential disappointment factor is even more cavernous. The would-be criticism is merely a mountain of water currently behind the dam wall. A banana peel performance against the Giants is all that's needed to open the flood gates and send humanity scurrying. The team knows this. They know it more than you know it. Way more. Do you think they want to spend an entire off-season listening to and reflecting on what could have been? Get real.

Kudos to the New York Giants. They deserve all the accolades being thrown their way. They've done exactly what they've had to do. Take care of business. Their business. It's now the Cowboys' turn to go to work.

And go to work they will. They will beat the New York football Giants this Sunday in Texas Stadium.

Momentum and adrenaline are wonderful things and have propelled many to success. Each element is needed for performance and winning. It's time for the Giants to pass the baton to the more talented (and rested) team. The Giants, even though flying high and popping off, are about ready to hit the proverbial brick wall. Age, fatigue and a predominant opponent are ready to do them in. How much can they have left in the tank? The guess is the fuel gauge currently hovers dangerously close to "E," and the fumes should kick in about the third quarter Sunday.

They went all-out against the Patriots to prove a point and save face. In the process they put a few more bodies in sick bay. They soundly defeated an anemic offensive attack on the opponent's home field in the wild card round. Confidence in New York is soaring; as it should be, but if the Cowboys properly take care of their business, the fall of the G-men is coming.

Tampa Bay was an inferior offensive opponent, and that's being overly-generous in description. Truth be told, the Giants were thrilled to have drawn the Bucs in Round One. Because New York didn't have to get into a shoot out or track meet with Tampa, they simply dinked and dunked their way past an overrated (due to schedule and a very weak division) defense. Again, New York took care of their business. News flash! The Cowboys aren't the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! Not even close. There are many differences, but start with "fire power."

A questionable Terry Glenn and a gimpy Terrell Owens are much more than Tampa Bay could have mounted when Joey Galloway and Cadillac Williams were at full strength. Much (way too) has been made of the Owens' ankle. The human popcorn machine will play on Sunday. The mere talk of him not playing or being limited tells you something about the Giants. Think about it. Inside the walls of Valley Ranch, the Cowboys feel they can beat the Giants without Owens' services. The media doesn't. The fans don't. No one thinks the Cowboys can win without T.O. in the line-up.

Wrong.

Let's put this in perspective. What might the Cowboys get from T.O. on Sunday? 90%? 80%? 70%? The conditioning and sheer will of this player probably takes the effectiveness to the mid 90's, but for conservative purposes, back the production percentage down to a mild 50%. How much will they get from Terry Glenn? Everyone remembers him, right? 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%? More? Anything over 50% gets the Cowboys more in WR talent and production than the previous two contests with the divisional foe. What don't you like about facing the Giants with a stronger WR grouping? With Romo running the show? Sprinkle in a 100% Jason Witten. How about a 150%, statement to the world, performance by the human battering ram? Oh, it's coming.

Even Mr. Redenbacher can't generate enough popping corn for the occasion.

There are so many facets, match-ups and tales of tape in this one, and you can get all the fodder filler via other sources. This one comes down to a single element which will ultimately sway the contest's outcome. Rightfully so, it will come down to brute strength. How the Dallas Cowboys offensive line handles the Giants defensive front four will tell you all you need to know. If Strahan and Umenyiora are in Romo's grill with any degree of regularity, it'll be a long (very) day for the home team. If Flozell and Columbo can again hold their own, Katie bars the door!

Traditionally, an employee receives departing gifts if retiring or moving onto another venture. Instead of receiving, Tony Sparano will be giving something back. He has a gift for his current employer and faithful fans. His unit will not only be ready to go, they will dominate. You pick the reasons, but an offensive line coach and his faithful troops enjoy a special bond. It's a relationship more understood and respected than touted. Call it a code of appreciation and dedication. Do you think a Leonard Davis, he of the never-tasted post season and Pro Bowl ilk, might want to give Transcending Tony a little loving thanks? What about a Tumultuous Tony Sparano-revitalized (in-your-face) Flozell Adams? Does FedEx Air Gurode owe the next Miami Dolphins head coach a bit of gratitude for believing he could morph into a Pro Bowl caliber center? Is Marc Columbo simply indebted for the mere opportunity? Certainly Kyle Kosier would rather be toiling for the ten-win touting Jon Kitna?! The big uglies are about to shoulder this playoff-deficient burden.

Word of advice to the remainder of the Cowboys roster? Saddle up. Feet in the stirrups. Grab the reins. Ride.

Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. Please return to your seats and buckle up accordingly. We're about 60 miles from DFW, and your flight crew has graciously started the New York Giants steep descent into the Metroplex. In case of a water or crash landing, your seat cushion may be used as a floatation device, but you'll be better-served by placing your head between your legs and kissing your playoff arces goodbye.

There isn't nearly enough foam on the Texas Stadium runway to bring this thing in smoothly. This visiting bird is going to hit the deck hard. The Cowboys roll and squelch the script for another week. Something says they'll have the last laugh and simply enjoy the media and fan base realizing the sun will come up Monday morning.

And, if none of this is possible or comes to fruition, Brian Stewart holds the keys to Plan B. It only took 17 weeks (and a fully-staffed M.A.S.H. unit), but front seven pressure and man press-coverage are going to make a grand and welcomed appearance Sunday afternoon. Yup, the kind of performance that'll have the faithful shaking their collective heads and muttering, "Where has that been?"

As we begin our final approach into DFW, we'd like to extend a special welcome and gracious invitation to Mr. Eli Manning. Before preparations begin for our crash landing, the only parachute on board has been made available for your utilization. It's your choice. Bail now or join the remainder of the group as the curtain closes on the 2007-08 season. The turbulence just ahead is courtesy of your Texas Stadium host.

Bring on the trifecta!!

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