New York Giants: Top 5 Eli Manning career wins against Cowboys

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
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1. 2007 Divisional Playoffs: 21-17 Giants win

In what I find to be one of the most head-scratching facts in all of sports, the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys have played each other 115 times – in a rivalry that dates back 59 years – yet they’ve played each other exactly once in the playoffs. That fabled game occurred on January 13th, 2008, as Eli led his underdog squad to a signature playoff victory.

As was the case throughout their entire historical run through the 2007 post-season, the Giants came into this game as heavy underdogs, and for good reason. This 2007 Cowboys team was a force (featuring Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Demarcus Ware all in their primes), and had wiped out Big Blue both times the two met in the regular season. To win this game on the road, the Giants were going to combined a shrewd gameplan, with top-shelf execution – they did just that.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin wanted to run a quick-strike passing attack, while softening up the Cowboys defense with the bruising running of Brandon Jacobs. While I’m sure he planned on Eli Manning having more than 12 completions  and 163 passing yards, it didn’t end up mattering as Eli made every one of those yards count. The ever-clutch QB set the Giants up for success early when he found Amani Toomer for a 52-yard touchdown on a short, timing route that had Big Blue feeling like it could actually win this game.

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Tom Brady is lauded as the master of the two-minute offense, as the New England Patriots constantly look to put up seven before the end of the first half. For some reason, Eli is not held in the same regard, even though he led the Giants on so many crucial scoring drives at the end of first halves in his career. There was no greater example of this than him bringing Big Blue down the length of the field in a mere :47 seconds to tie this game back up at 14 heading into halftime.

There’s no telling how this game would have ended if Eli didn’t lead that critical drive, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it would have ended differently, as the Cowboys were due to receive the ball in the second-half and had just gotten all the momentum back after taking the lead with less than a minute to go in the second quarter. Luckily we’ll never know, as the Giant defense stepped up, and a Brandon Jacobs touchdown run in the fourth quarter propelled Big Blue to the landmark win.