This Sunday the Dallas Cowboys head into Giantsâ€™ Stadium favored by 3.5 points. Their job is to take on Eli Manning, Tiki Barber and company. Manning has been having a tough time during the second half of the season. He has not been able to correct his erratic play that has included poor decision making and off target passes.
Look for the Giants to try to run the ball and establish the run game to take pressure off of Manning. Manning will throw some quick, short passes in order to build some confidence. Although New York looked good in the first half, when they beat the Cowboys in week seven, the second half has been a nightmare.
Manning may run some play actions to try to befuddle the Cowboy pass defense. If he can throw them off kilter and keep them guessing, the Cowboys will be forced into making some mistakes.
The Giants running game works best when running outside. Dallas is weakest off-tackle. With the Cowboys showing one of the better run defenses in the NFL, New York will look to throw some extra effort at the Dallas linebackers. Dallas will have to be careful to use its secondary and linebackers wisely, making the correct decision when it comes to the run or the pass.
The Cowboys have been playing well behind rookie QB and Drew Bledsoe replacement Tony Romo who now runs the sixth best passing offense in the league. Romo has averaged 9.2 YPP and 301 YPG. Heâ€™s shown smarts and composure and has his team on a three-game winning streak.
Romo will be going up against a defense thatâ€™s rated 19th in the league against the pass. The front line must put pressure on the Dallas QB and New Yorkâ€™s secondary must be extremely tight in their coverage.
On the run, the Cowboys, rated fifth, will try to exploit the Giantsâ€™ left tackle position. Dallas has speed and quickness, while New Yorkâ€™s front guys are powerful. This will be trench warfare.
New York must be able to run in order to eventually throw the ball. They canâ€™t allow Romo and company to control the ball. The Giants donâ€™t want to see Manning get into a position where he has to play catch-up and force the ball into the hands of receivers.
A solid passing display backed up by the grinding Dallas ground game will best serve Romo and the Cowboys. New York has to put pressure on Romo along with reading the running game and reacting quickly.
Dallas is in first place in their division and New York is one game behind them. Obviously, this is a huge game for both teams. The Giants need a win for both the standings and to replenish their confidence and momentum. Dallas wants a win to gain a split with New York and to put some distance between themselves and the second-place Giants.