Unhappy return for Manning as Cowboys down Giants

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Dak Prescott threw for three touchdowns to make it an unhappy return for Eli Manning on Sunday as the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 30-10 to keep their faint NFL playoff hopes alive.

Dallas quarterback Prescott finished with a career-high 332 yards as Dallas improved to 7-6 in the NFC East to stay in the postseason chase.

But it was a miserable return to the starting line-up for Prescott's Giants counterpart Eli Manning.

The two-time Super Bowl winner returned to the starting line-up after being dropped last weekend by former coach Ben McAdoo, who was fired on Monday.

Manning, however, was never able to get the Giants offense moving after finding Rhett Ellison with a one-yard touchdown pass to put the Giants 10-3 ahead in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.

That was as good as it got though for Manning and the Giants, who were blown away by three fourth quarter Dallas touchdowns from Jason Witten and Rod Smith (2).

Dallas remain a distant second in the NFC East behind the 10-2 Philadelphia Eagles, who play the Los Angeles Rams in California later Sunday.

Dallas will realistically need to win their three remaining games against Oakland, Seattle and Philadelphia to have any chance of snatching a wildcard spot.

In other early games Sunday, the Carolina Panthers jolted the Minnesota Vikings with a 34-21 victory after a three-touchdown rushing display from Jonathan Stewart.

Stewart grabbed the first of his three scores with a 60-yard gallop to the end zone in the first quarter as the Panthers boosted their playoff hopes to improve to 9-4. The Vikings slipped to 10-3 but remain atop the NFC North.

In Cleveland, the winless Browns looked poised to score their first victory of the season after leading 21-7 against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter.

But two Packers touchdowns from Jamaal Williams and Davante Adams sent the game into overtime.

On the first Browns possession in overtime, DeShone Kizer coughed up a panicky interception and the Packers marched forward to score through Adams to complete a 27-21 win.

In Buffalo, meanwhile, the Bills overcame blizzard-like conditions to beat the Indianapolis Colts 13-17 in overtime in a game played with thick snow blanketing the pitch.