It seems like it was forever ago that the Cowboys last took the football field, but it was not even two weeks ago. That disaster has left Dallas desperate to get things turned around, and they get the opportunity on Sunday versus their hated rival from the NFC East, the New York Giants. We reached out to Ed Valentine at Big Blue View to get a little intel on the G-men.
Blogging The Boys: How much credit of the 4-game winning streak do you give to the team's improvement, an how much to the quality of opposition?
Big Blue View: Well, there is no doubt that you can look at the teams the Giants have played during their winning streak and say 'they haven't played anybody.' And there is no debating that they haven't played great teams.
This team is, however, getting better. Offensively they have a running game now with Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs, not to mention the work done by fullback John Conner. The offensive line isn't great, but they have been able to keep the same group together for a while and it is improving. Defensively, the arrival of Jon Beason and the insertion into the lineup of linebacker Jacquian Williams and safety Will Hill makes them much more athletic.
So, it's a combination of both.
BTB: Eli has cut down on his turnovers. Is this mainly because they've gone to a shorter passing game?
BBV: They have done that with more three-step drops and not as many deep throws. The fact that the running game and offensive line have been better in recent weeks has also helped.
BTB: The defense looks to be on the rise. Jon Beason has obviously helped, but I imagine the front four has also played a huge role. Give us a rundown on defense.
BBV: Well, I mentioned Beason, Williams and Hill above. Antrel Rolle and Prince Amukamara are playing well in the secondary. Terrell Thomas has played well inhis comeback. Jason Pierre-Paul is finally starting to look like the player he can be after offseason back surgery. Justin Tuck is also playing very well, especially against the run. One thing the Giants have done is stop the run. They have done well against Jamal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson.
BTB: The offensive line is struggling for the G-men. What are the issues there and how much of a factor has it been in offensive production issues?
BBV: Well, the line lost starting center David Baas and starting right guard Chris Snee, a multi-time Pro Bowl player. They have a try-hard backup at center in Jim Cordle and the aging David Diehl at right guard in their place. As a result, the interior of their line isn't great. Andre Brown had 66 yards rushing last week, 53 of those after contact. Which means the line isn't giving him much help. At tackle, Will Beatty is playing better after a rocky start and rookie first-round pick Justin Pugh seems to get better every week.
You asked about the short passing game. The Giants want the explosive plays, of course. The difficulty is whether or not the line can hold up long enough to allow the deeper plays to develop.
BTB: What is your optimism level about the Giants actually winning the NFC East?
BBV: That depends on Sunday. JPP says it's the Giants 'Super Bowl' and I tend to agree. If they win Sunday I believe winning the NFC East is completely realistic -- which is amazing coming from 0-6. If they lose Sunday, I think they are done. Even if they run the table after that they would end up falling short in division tie-breakers
Thanks Ed! For more on the Giants visit Big Blue View.
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