In week 2 the Cowboys blew an extraordinary opportunity to beat a divisional foe despite multiple turnovers. Had they won that game the Cowboys would be sitting on a 9-2 record (3-0 in the division) and not facing as desperate a situation as they are this Sunday. A loss to the Giants this time around drops them to 8-4 overall (most likely a tie with Philly for first) and (2-2) in the division; worst of all they will have been swept by the Giants. I HATE BEING SWEPT BY ANYONE. (Insert deep breath here) It also makes the rest of their games that much more critical; if a loss to the Giants is followed up by loses to either the Chargers or Saints or both, the Cowboys may no longer be in charge of their own destiny.
The Giants come into this game much like Green Bay did a few weeks back; they exhibit a similarly discouraging list of injuries, have more or less been dismissed from most playoff discussions and find their season on the line…. this weekend…. against the Cowboys! And like the Packers a few weeks back, the Giants’ talent level is better than their record and it doesn’t hurt that they get to be home for this one
One big difference might be, however, that the Giants will face a less satisfied Cowboy team than the Packers faced on 11/15. That Cowboy team had just rattled off 4 straight wins, including an emotionally draining victory over the Eagles the week before. The Cowboys’ team coming to the meadowlands this weekend, is far from content and hasn’t played well enough recently to be overconfident. In short, I suspect the Cowboys have put in a good 10 days of focused preparation for this game (but unfortunately so have the Giants).
The last time these two faced one another the Giants could do nothing to stop the Cowboy running attack while the Cowboys could do nothing to stop the Giants passing game. Since then the Cowboys pass-defense has improved significantly while the Giant run D remains suspect. Will Garrett further exploit this weakness with the 3-headed monster, or is a more pass heavy game plan in the works? The Cowboy passing attack was woeful against the Giants and Romo had his worst game of the season, what adjustments has Garrett designed to counter the Giants, deep umbrella coverage approach they took last time? Will the Giants even employ that same strategy this time around (after all Miles Austin hadn’t really been discovered yet when they last played)?
Eli torched the Cowboys last time and had a near career night and a lot of that came on 3rd down conversions. Since then Wade has changed things up by playing tighter coverage, designating Jenkins the official starter, and often lining up in a 3-3-5 look on obvious passing downs. It also doesn’t hurt that the Cowboys rush has picked up since then as well. Will these improvements be enough to stifle the Giant passing attack?