The New York Giants won. Now they wait.
Rookie Xavier McKinney intercepted Dallas’ Andy Dalton in the end zone with 1:15 remaining, giving the Giants a 23-19 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday and a chance at an unprecedented, six-win playoff berth.
New York’s postseason chances hang on the Philadelphia Eagles, who play Washington on Sunday night. Washington would claim the NFC East with a win or tie. Otherwise, the Giants will take it for the first time since 2011.
The Giants (6-10) would be the first team to qualify for the playoffs with six victories in a 16-game regular season and the first to do so after starting 1-7. Hardly how first-year coach Joe Judge planned it, but enough to spur New York’s pursuit of its first playoff appearance since 2016.
Far from .500, still full of hope.
Dallas (6-10) nearly ripped that away. Dalton rallied Dallas with a bloody left hand after being stepped on by defensive tackle Leonard Williams in the third quarter, and he had the Cowboys on the doorstep when Williams got close again
Dalton scrambled around on a broken play, avoided being sacked by Williams for a fourth time, but ended up floating one into the middle of the end zone. McKinney caught it easily, his first career interception.
Daniel Jones was efficient and surprisingly mobile after slumping with lower-body injuries during a three-game losing streak. He was 17-of-25 passing for 229 yards and two touchdowns, ending Dallas’ seven-game winning streak in the rivalry.
Dalton was 29 of 47 for 243 yards. He was sacked six times.
New York’s Wayne Gallman Jr. appeared to fumble after picking up a game-clinching first down, but officials ruled he was down before the ball came loose.
Giants: Williams had seven tackles, three sacks and hit the quarterback five times. … Shepard had two touchdowns all season before Sunday. Pettis, claimed off waivers from San Francisco in November, got his first TD with New York.
Cowboys: CB Rashard Robinson (knee) and LB Leighton Vander Esch (ankle) were inactive. WR Noah Brown was ruled out at halftime with a back injury. TE Blake Bell left in the third quarter with a stinger and was probable to return.
Giants: LB Blake Martinez left the game briefly after appearing to injure his left ankle or foot in the third quarter.
Cowboys: Enter the offseason with a losing record for the first time since 2015.
Giants: Either the season is over, or they’ll host a wild-card playoff game next weekend.