Everybody remembers this right?
And as we all know, the misery has continued. The Giants are undefeated, 3-0 in the Cowboy's house. The Cowboys have 4 key starters out, 2 for the season; everyone is picking the Giants and even the most one-eyed Cowboys fan has to admit that the Giants are playing by far the superior football so far this year.
But here are 4 reasons the Cowboys could come out on top:
1. The Underdog factor
The Cowboys are a 2 point underdog. The underdog is 6-1 in this series. (Unfortunately most of those came on the road, so the road record does favour the Giants.) The Cowboys are 2-0 as underdogs this season. Both the Giants losses have come as a favourite by less than 7 points. The Cowboys last 2 wins against the Giants were as 3.5 and 11.5 point dogs.
Interestingly the Cowboys are 11-0 against the spread when the spread is greater than 3-0 - so this does seem to be a team that thrives when their backs are against the wall. When no-one expects them to win, that seems to be when they pull out their best efforts. This has all the hallmarks of that type of game.
2. The O-Line is coming together.
The Cowboys tackles have negative PFF scores and rank 52nd and 59th out of 67 tackles. However, if you look game-by-game, Tyron Smith was -8.6 in his first 3 games but grades a positive 4.3 in his last 3, which would grade him in the top 15 tackles over that stretch. Similarly, Doug Free has graded 0.3 in his last 2 games - so he appears to be improving too, albeit just to barely average. But there is a sense this is a confidence issue with Free, so perhaps he can keep the trajectory going. Bernadeau is the lowest graded lineman but has similarly graded positively in his last 2 games. Livings and our centre rotation have above-average grades.
When they played the Giants last time, the O-line had taken zero snaps together in a game (regular or pre-season) - so with some continuity and Callahan's coaching they appear to be coming together.
3. Defensive scheme unknowns
While Lee is a massive loss, the Giants are facing the Cowboys in the first game without him. They don't quite know how the Cowboys will compensate for losing Lee. More 4 man fronts? more nickle and dime sets? 4 CBs on the field? I suspect all of the above. And the Giants aren't going to know for sure. A small edge perhaps, but its something.
4. 4 & 0 motivation?
At what point does the embarrassment factor kick in? When do the players start to get ticked off with a division opponent owning THEIR HOUSE? I can see the Cowboys starting to get motivated to shut down this streak.
And when does it start to impact on the fans? We have seen plenty of media and players pointing out the lack of fan noise at Cowboy's games, including the golden boy himself. The Cowboys have even resorted to sending season ticket fans a letter pleading with them to be noisy. If that doesn't embarrass them into some yelling and screaming, maybe not wanting to let the Giants go 4 & 0 will.