|per game||NFL Rank||AFC NORTH||per game||NFL Rank||AFC EAST|
|Total Offense||370.7 yds||9th||3rd||400 yds||3rd||1st|
|Total Defense||264.8 yds||2nd||1st||281.4 yds||3rd||2nd|
|Points Scored||22.3 pts||14th||2nd||20.4 pts||18th||3rd|
|Points Allowed||19.7 pts||13th||2nd||22.2 pts||20th||3rd|
The Dallas Cowboys continue to stumble after entering the season with expectations of playing the Super Bowl at home in their $1.2 billion stadium.
It probably won't be easy to get back on track against a New York Giants team that features the best defense in the NFC.
The Cowboys will try to avoid their worst start in 21 years Monday night at home when they look to avenge two NFC East losses to the Giants from a season ago.
Dallas (1-4) features the third-best offense and fourth-best defense in the league based on yardage, but that hasn't helped the Cowboys overcome 62 penalties - the second-worst total in the league - and a defense that has forced four turnovers including one in Dallas' four losses.
The Cowboys outgained Minnesota 314-188 in last Sunday's 24-21 road loss, but made numerous mistakes. Tony Romo threw two interceptions that led to 10 points for the Vikings, who opened the second half with a 95-yard kickoff return for a score by Percy Harvin .
Owner Jerry Jones addressed the team the next day, reiterating his support for the team and beleaguered coach Wade Phillips.
"I believe in these guys, I believe in the coaching staff, I believe in Wade Phillips," Jones said. "I believe we can turn things around. While the odds are against us, we can make all the things happen that we wanted to do this year."
Phillips appreciated the support, but knows his team must execute better to avoid its worst six-game start since the 1989 team began 0-8 en route to a 1-15 campaign. Since the NFL went to a six-team postseason in 1990, only five of 97 teams that started 1-4 made the playoffs.
"He knows, like we all know, that we had high expectations and we haven't reached that, but we still have a chance," Phillips said. "The season is not over, and we're looking forward to this ballgame.
"We are looking forward to winning at home, playing at home, Monday night, all the great things. We can feel better about ourselves if we can beat the Giants because the Giants are really the team right at the top of our division."
New York (4-2) swept Dallas for the first time since 2004 last year, including a memorable 33-31 win in the first game at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 20. Romo was picked off three times in that game while Eli Manning threw for 330 yards, and engineered a game-winning drive that set up Lawrence Tynes ' 37-yard field goal as time expired.
"It was a fun game last year," Manning said. "Obviously it was a lot of energy in opening up their new stadium. It came down to the very end and we had to have a two-minute drive. A couple guys stepped up and made big plays for us."
The Giants enter on a three-game winning streak on the strength of a defense that has limited opponents to an NFC-best 264.8 yards per game. The resurgence of Osi Umenyiora has keyed the success.
Despite a nagging knee injury that has limited him to roughly two practices a week, Umenyiora has seven sacks and six forced fumbles over the last three games. The two-time Pro Bowler has surpassed his 2009 sack total of seven when he was benched near the end of the season for ineffectiveness.
"Osi has played well and he's made up his mind to play well," coach Tom Coughlin said. "What he brings to the table in terms of his ability, his conviction, his desire to be the very best that he can be, that's where he is. He's an excellent football player playing very well."
Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and the rest of the Giants' defensive front could be facing a depleted Dallas offensive line if left guard Kyle Kosier cannot play. Kosier left against Minnesota with an injured Achilles' tendon, and his status is uncertain.
Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty will be playing in Dallas for the first time since leaving the team he spent his first four seasons with to sign with New York as a free agent in 2009. Canty missed last year's visit with a calf strain.
Tynes is expected to return after he missed last week's 28-20 win over Detroit with an ankle injury. Replacement Shayne Graham has been released.
This is the fifth straight season the matchup between these rivals in Dallas has been in prime time, and the Cowboys are eager to use the stage to break out of their woes.
"We have to play well this weekend to win, to beat these guys," Romo said. "I think that it would be an important stepping stone going in the right direction for the rest of the season and it would just hopefully carry over."