Biggs: It starts up front with Giants' season on the line

Justin Tuck vs. Flozell Adams provides a juicy subplot to today’s critical NFC East showdown in the Meadowlands between the Giants and Cowboys.

New York must win to keep its season alive. With a victory, Dallas can grab firm control of the race in the division with four games to go.

Much of the focus is on the beleaguered New York defensive front, which has struggled mightily in its first season without coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Why not start with the Tuck-Adams matchup? The Cowboys’ left tackle tripped Tuck in their first meeting back in September, and Tuck suffered a torn labrum when he fell to the turf. The league fined Adams $12,500, and Tuck called the Cowboy “bush league.”

“I stand by what I said, where I said it and who I said it about,’’ Tuck said. “That's all I have to say about that.”

There is plenty more to say about the line, though, and it could take on a fresh look. Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that end Osi Umenyiora and tackle Fred Robbins could be headed to the bench. That is how it looked in practice at the end of the week when end Mathias Kiwanuka and tackle Chris Canty, the big free-agent offseason pickup from Dallas, were working with the first team.

Big Blue has lost five of its last six, and has surrendered more than 31 points per game in doing so. If this move has been made, the Giants have had extra time to execute it as they last played on Thanksgiving.

“At this point, if it saves our season, Coach would try anything to get this thing right,’’ Tuck said. “I don't see why it's a big deal.”

Umenyiora leads the Giants with five sacks, but he has already had his public spats with first-year coordinator Bill Sheridan, and it could be that coach Tom Coughlin and Sheridan have simply decided they have to do something to shake it up.

The preseason favorites in the eyes of many are 6-5, two games back of the Cowboys. A victory by the Giants will make the division an interesting three-way race down the stretch with the Eagles (7-4) entering their game at Atlanta. A Giants’ loss, and you’ll be able to write them out of the division picture.

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