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So the Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 and surprising everybody around the NFL. It's a fantastic start, but now NFC East play begins for the 'Boys. First up on the schedule, the New York Giants. So we went to our old friend Ed Valentine at Big Blue View for a download on the Giants.
Blogging The Boys: The Giants offense has looked really good in some games, and terrible in others. Why is that happening?
Big Blue View: Well, the struggles of the first two games -- really just the first one because they weren't bad in Week 2 against Arizona -- weren't unexpected. They are, of course, running an entirely new offensive system and pretty much half the offensive personnel is different than it was last year. It doesn't happen overnight. They got some rhythm during their three-game winning streak and looked really good. They ran the ball well enough, the offensive line was giving Eli Manning all kinds of time. The ball was coming out on time. The Giants were efficient, largely because of tremendous offensive line play.
Against Philly last week the line fell apart. Justin Pugh, a very good player, had the worst game of his two seasons. The Giants also struggled to handle blitzes and stunts up the middle.
BTB: How much impact does the Victor Cruz injury have? What will the Giants do to compensate?
BBV: I don't think I have to tell you it has a ton of impact. Cruz was not having a great year, but the Giants can't replace the route-running and play-making ability. They will try to move guys around to create match-ups and I'm sure they will try to get the ball to Larry Donnell and the other tight ends quite a bit.
BTB: The Giants secondary also looks to be having injury issues, what's the latest on that unit?
BBV: Well, Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride are on IR, which means the Giants are down to Jayron Hosley in the slot. In the past that has not been a good thing for the Giants. The bigger issue is that it looks like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who probably would have spent at least some time shadowing Dez Bryant, won't play. DRC has been fantastic for the Giants and it's a big hit if he doesn't play.
BTB: How has Eli Manning adapted to the new offense? Do you think it fits him well?
BBV: I think Manning has been terrific. He had passer ratings above 100 in all three Giants victories. His passer rating and completion percentage are career bests right now. His interception rate is the second-best of his career and he has thrown just one INT in four games. Last week against Philly there were a couple of occasions where he held the ball too long, but it's been a long time since we've seen Manning play as well as he did during the three-game winning streak.
BTB: Where do you see the advantages for the Giants in this game? Do you think they will win?
BBV: If the Giants have an advantage it's this. I'm still not buying that the Dallas defense is all that good. I think you can run on the Cowboys, and I think if you can do that it opens up opportunities to make plays in the passing game. I think they Dallas running game and time of possession has really protected the defense. If the Giants can run the ball, and if the offensive line plays like it did prior to the debacle in Philly, I think the Giants have a chance put up a good number of points. Of course, those are big ifs a week after being shut out. Do I think they will win? I certainly think they CAN win. It is impossible to be confident that they WILL win.