Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 1/1/12

The NFL regular season is now officially over, but it didn't go out with a whimper. In the game of the week, we got a de-facto playoff game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. When the dust settled, the Giants were victorious thanks largely to Eli Manning.

The Giants jumped out of the gate all over the Cowboys, gaining a 21-0 first half lead. The Giants allowed the Cowboys to get back into the game due to a more conservative style in the second half, but when it was time to go, they stepped on the gas and pulled away.

The Cowboys have to be disappointed in a big way. Last season, they never really gave themselves a chance to make a playoff run, but they were in position this season for the latter half of the year. Their big problem was blowing leads in the 4th quarter, and those games they should have won but didn't came back and haunted them. Jerry Jones has been supportive of Jason Garrett, and I don't expect any knee-jerk firing to happen, but the loss definitely puts Garrett in the pressure cooker in 2012.

The Giants are not only the kings of New York this year, they're also now playoff bound. They'll host the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday at 1 PM EST. Now that they've caught fire, the Giants seem to be one of the more dangerous teams in the NFC playoff picture. Their defense has been stepping up their play, and they'll be looking to jump out to an early lead next week just as they did this week.

The only negative aspect of the Giants' win was that they allowed the Cowboys to hang around far too long. When there's blood in the water, they have to go for the kill. It's something that every playoff team needs to do, but it's a relatively minor problem considering they were playing with a big 21 point lead when they went into preservation mode. While it could have backfired, the key was that they were able to switch back to an aggressive style without a hitch.

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