Cleaning out the notebook from the time I spent in the New York Giants' locker room earlier in the week:
1. Giants receiver Victor Cruz told me he respects Dallas Cowboys cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman, but that he believes the Giants' passing game has the advantage in the matchup against Dallas' struggling secondary.
"Those guys have been around a long time, and Terence Newman, he's a very cerebral player," Cruz said. "We have to be disciplined. Just because of the problems they've been having, we have a one-up right now going against them, because our receivers can make plays, and if we stay disciplined, we should be able to have success.
2. There was also lots of talk about why the Giants have done better on the road than than they have at home this year. They are 3-4 at home and 5-3 this year as the road team, counting their "road" game this past Saturday against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. They've lost home games to the Seahawks, Redskins, Eagles and Packers, and you could argue that they should have gone 3-1 in those games (they even had a chance to beat the Packers).
"I think when you go on the road, you always have that mindset of 'Me vs. the world,'" defensive end Justin Tuck said. "And when you're home, you have a tendency to relax and to play a little looser in some ways. But that's no excuse. We've got to play better."
The Giants do seem to be a team that requires some external motivation on which they can draw. Even Saturday, when they were playing in their home stadium, they were fired up to beat a Jets team that had been crowing about making New York their town and covering the Giants' Super Bowl logos in the corridors with black curtains. Fortunately for the Giants, this week's home game comes with plenty of external motivation, since it will determine the division champion.
"I don't see any possible way we don't show up for this game Sunday," Cruz said. "It's an amazing opportunity, and we just really have to seize it."
3. Giants coach Tom Coughlin is at a loss to explain the problems wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is having with drops lately.
"With him, drops are really shocking, because he has incredible hands, big hands," Coughlin said. "He just snatches the ball out of the air. So you have to give some credit to the defense. We've talked to our receivers about catching the ball with people all over them, but that wasn't the case."
The Giants' hope is that Nicks' drop issues are something like a slump or the "yips," and that he just gets over it. He's dropped seven passes this season.