Is this the Cowboys' last stand?

The question posed to Tony Romo was whether this Monday Night will sort of be the Dallas Cowboys' last stand against the New York Giants.

"Say it again: 'Is it Custer's last stand?' you said," Romo asked.

At 1-4, the underachieving Cowboys might as well be making their final stand. This is supposed to be a season in which they make a run to the Super Bowl, which will be played in their own stadium.

Instead, the Cowboys have sputtered badly, at times unable to get out of their own way with silly penalties and lack of execution.

Now, the Giants have a rare opportunity to bury the Cowboys in a 1-5 hole if they can beat their hated NFC East rival in Dallas. In fact, the Giants will have a major say in whether Dallas can rebound this season with two games against the Cowboys in the next four weeks.

"I don't know if you ever think of one game as a [last stand]," Romo said in a conference call with New York reporters on Wednesday. "It is not a playoff game where you win or lose, your season is over or you keep going. It is obviously important and we do need to win and it is getting to that point where the season hinges as you continue to go forward. I don't know when that is, that sort of game."

A Cowboys' loss to the Giants would be devastating. Dallas has already lost a division game and another defeat would leave the Cowboys at 1-5, 0-2 in the division and at the bottom of the NFC East.

The season is still early but the Cowboys still have games at Green Bay, at the Giants, at Indianapolis and at Philadelphia. And they have a home game against the defending Super Bowl champions Saints and a rivalry game with the Redskins among their remaining games.

"You are not any better than your record," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said. "It is frustrating but you got to keep working and point toward the future and not dwell on the past. You can learn from the past. It is all about attitude now. It is all about your attitude, continue staying together and pulling for each other and believing in each other and that's the challenge."

For the Giants, this will be their first NFC East game of the season. The Giants (4-2) are riding a three-game winning streak and a victory over the one team they despise more than any other would propel them into the bye week flying high.

For the Cowboys, a win could potentially save their season. Jerry Jones spoke to the Cowboys this week and Romo and Phillips said the owner was positive and encouraging.

"I think that [a win over the Giants] would be important and a stepping stone to go in the right direction for the rest of the season," Romo said. "And it will hopefully carry over."

The Giants know how a win can turn a season around. During their 2007 Super Bowl season, they were 0-2 and on the verge of an 0-3 start when a goal line stand in Washington helped transform their season. Granted, that was only three games into the year.
The Cowboys are in a bigger hole than that. But for a team that has as much talent as the Cowboys, it might just take one momentum-swinging win to turn it around.

The Cowboys are third in total offense, averaging 400 yards per game, and fourth overall in total defense in the NFL.

"I still can't believe they are 1-4 with all the talent they got on that team," Giants tight end Kevin Boss said. "Something's not right there but we definitely know they are still a very good football team. It gives us a great opportunity to put more distance between the two of us."

The Giants would love nothing more than to continue Dallas' misery. That's why this very well could be the Cowboys' last stand.

"None of us here thought we were going to be in this situation," Romo said. "You don't work as hard as we do every day to be like this. It is not fun and not enjoyable."

"All you can do is work harder and find a way to continue to come in every day and stay together. There can be a light at the end of the tunnel if guys do those things."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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