If they do, it would provide a positive springboard into the offseason, particularly after losses the previous two weeks to Tennessee and Indianapolis.
“You want to finish strong,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “We’ve been doing some good things this last half of the season. You want to go out there and just kind of finish on a good note. Playing against a good team, and just want to go out there and execute, and just feel good about this last game.”
Because the Cowboys cannot change their playoff seed, coach Jason Garrett is expected to rest some of his starters, either keeping them off the field entirely or sharply reducing their snaps. When they were in the same situation two years ago, Ezekiel Elliott was inactive. Elliott leads the NFL in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. Barkley is third in each category.
In addition to their other goals, the Giants hope to end their three-game losing streak against the Cowboys. That includes a 20-13 Week 2 defeat in Dallas, a game in which they totaled 255 yards, including just 35 on the ground. Barkley rushed for a season-low 28 yards, but caught a Giants-record 14 passes.
“I think we’re a better team than we were back then,” Shurmur said. “We’ve sustained some injuries the last couple of weeks, but I do think that all teams kind of morph a little bit as the season goes on. You start to do the things you do well more. Some of the things you didn’t do well early, you don’t do anymore. And again, for guys in their first year, getting the feel for the players, so you change certainly. There’s something to be gained by watching the film because schemes pretty much are the same, but I think we’re both different teams now.”