The Cowboys went 1-3 against the teams left in the field. They beat the 49ers with a comeback victory in Week 2. They saw the Patriots and Giants have fourth-quarter comebacks against them. And then, in the regular-season finale, the Giants eliminated Dallas in a winner-take-all affair.
"I think it’s the nature of the NFL," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "There are a lot of close games that all the teams play. The teams that are still playing are the ones that know how to win those games on a more consistent basis."
Which teams do you expect to face off in Super Bowl XLVI? Cast your vote, or post your picks in the comments below.
Here is how the Star-Telegram staff sees this weekend's games playing out:
Randy Galloway, columnist:
49ers 20, Giants 17....both teams hot, both teams have rolling QBs (shock me on Alex Smith) so I go with home team in a tight finish.
Clarence Hill, beat writer:
Giants 24, 49ers 14...Elite Manning and the Giants are on a super roll.
Patriots 28, Ravens 17...Tom Brady vs. Joe Flacco is a staggering mismatch.
Charean Williams, beat writer:
Giants 24, 49ers 20...I picked the Giants to upset the Packers last week. I am not giving up on them now. They are playing like it's 2007 all over again.
Patriots 20, Ravens 17...It goes against conventional wisdom that a team with the 31st-ranked defense can make the Super Bowl. (I picked against the Packers last week because of their 32nd-ranked defense.) But I trust Joe Flacco less than the Patriots defense.
Carlos Mendez, beat writer:
Giants 26, 49ers 23...Alex Smith is tougher than we thought. He's going to have find another level of tough against a Giants D that now believes in itself.
Patriots 33, Ravens 23...Tight ends like the NFL has never seen with the best quarterback the NFL has ever seen. Ray Ray and the gang can't keep up.
David Humphrey, editor:
Giants 28, 49ers 14...It's been a great run by the Niners and the franchise has turned around. Yet, the old-school Giants are clicking at the right time.