DALLAS — Things are so good with the Cowboys that minicamp gets canceled so the players can have a picnic.

Things are so bad with the Giants that tight end Jeremy Shockey and general manager Jerry Reese scream at each other during a workout in which Shockey is boycotting.

Things are so good with the Cowboys that Terrell Owens is all smiles, a happy camper with a new $34 million deal.

Things are so bad with the Giants that wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends off-season workouts but refuses to participate because he's upset at making less than half of what Owens is getting.

Things are so good with the Cowboys that Adam Jones is a new man, his troubled "Pacman" persona a thing of the past.

Things are so bad with the Giants that they don't know who will start in place of their retired longtime Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan.

Things are so good with the Cowboys that coach Wade Phillips thinks young wide receivers Miles Austin and Sam Hurd can fill the void if the team can't come to terms with Terry Glenn.

Things are so bad with the Giants that one Super Bowl running back (Brandon Jacobs) wants a new contract while the other one (Ahmad Bradshaw) sits in a Virginia jail cell.

Can all of this really be true? Have the Cowboys honestly replaced the Super Bowl champions as NFC favorites?

Well, it's true that much has happened this off-season to favor Dallas. The Giants did not add a player with the capacity to be as much of a playmaker as Jones, who can do it both at cornerback and as a punt returner when he can avoid his off-the-field problems.

And New York is suffering the Super Bowl hangover that can infect a team sometimes for an entire season. It can happen anywhere, but when a team from New York wins something, there is a tendency to overdo it.

My goodness, even wide receiver David Tyree has written a book. Once he finished describing that heroic catch he made against New England in the Super Bowl . . . what's on page 2?

Maybe a breakdown of his four catches for 35 yards in the 2007 season.

But the reality is that if the Giants have taken full advantage of the New York media market to capitalize on their Super Bowl, the status of their troubles is much exaggerated, too.

And that's why they still go into the 2008 season as the favored team. Not the Cowboys.

Examine some of their alleged troubles.

Shockey wants a trade. What does that mean? It means he knows he's expendable after watching the job last year's rookie, Kevin Boss, did throughout the playoffs when Shocked was hurt.

Shockey is a fine player but he has no leverage. Either he ends up playing for the Giants and producing as usual or he gets traded and the Giants get something for him.

As for Burress, he probably will get his contract reworked. Even while staging his protest, Burress said he expects everything to be fine before the team reports to training camp.

Strahan's retirement was something of a surprise since the man was still productive at the end of the last season. But the Giants, in anticipation of the move, had already signed Renaldo Wynn, who will probably split time with Justin Tuck, who gained a lot of playing time last year.

Their running back tandem that worked so well last year should be fine, too. You never want to have your players in jail, but Bradshaw is serving a 30-day sentence that stems from a violation committed as a juvenile, not something he did in celebration of their Super Bowl victory.

And as for all the raves coming from Phillips the last month, what he's really telling us is that he's got a pretty good flag football team. That's what workouts in May and June amount to.

The real blocking and tackling doesn't get underway for another five weeks. And even then the regular season is six weeks away.

When it finally arrives, the team that should be regarded the highest is the team that accomplished something in the playoffs. Not the one that hasn't produced in the postseason in a decade and still has much to prove.