Mathias Kiwanuka is a true believer. Believe that.
He's not sold on the fact that last week's 60-minute effort in the win over the New York Jets was a mirage, a mere departure from a season of defensive malaise.
He believes it can carry over to this week's winner-take-all game against Dallas Sunday night. More than that, he believes the Giants could hold the Cowboys to zero points.
"If we play a complete game from beginning to end, we'll pitch a shutout," Kiwanuka told the media on Wednesday.
Bold talk, but not out of the question considering the state of the Dallas defense. Tony Romo took limited practice with a passing hand swollen from a hit last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, and running back Felix Jones is trying to get over a hamstring injury. So unless just-signed Sammy Morris is ready to shoulder the rushing load, the Cowboys' ground game could be at less than peak efficiency, which would be good news for a Giants' defense that hasn't stopped a runner all season.
But the Cowboys still have plenty of offensive weapons. If Romo can get them the ball, Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson are dangerous receivers downfield. And tight end Jason Witten, with his 72 catches and five touchdowns, remains a dangerous target over a middle that, for the most part, hasn't handled tight ends or running backs too well.
Still, there's always the possibility that Perry Fewell's defense can put together back-to-back solid outings. They don't have to shut out the Cowboys, just limit the damage and hold them to, say, two touchdowns. Then, they can let Eli Manning and his battered-but-game bunch of skill players do the rest of the job.