After a long bye week of adjustments, the Cowboys are set to take on a familiar foe at MetLife Stadium where Jason Garrett is 4-1 as a head coach. It will be another week without Tony Romo or Dez Bryant but the Cowboys are focused on one thing; getting the victory. The Giants are coming off a poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles this past Monday night and will be ready as ever to get that taste out of their mouths. Dallas is currently not playing well either after a three-game losing skid. What do they have to do to escape New York with a win?
Establish A Ground Game
The Giants are currently doing a nice job of stopping the run and rank 7th in the league to be exact. However, the Cowboys must flip the script on them in this game. Christine Michael looks to get a bigger workload though Joseph Randle may still start. I like the bruiser in this match-up, though New York has some big defensive tackles in the middle, running to the outside could be a way to expose their weaker edge guys. The best option for the Cowboys to breathe life into a stagnant offense is to get these offensive linemen back into rhythm. Michael is one of those backs with the ability to wear down the defense, Dallas must stop at nothing to get this running game going in order to keep themselves alive. Romo and Dez surely help the running game be better but for now the Cowboys have to try everything to get a hum out of their engine. The offensive line remains their engine, now the back need to do their part too.
Swarm The Pocket
Cowboys fans have been waiting all season to see this defense at full strength and they are about to get their wish this afternoon. Randy Gregory is back in the lineup after suffering an ankle injury in week one against the same opponent. He joins Greg Hardy, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence and others that produced a five sack performance against the NFL's golden boy, Tom Brady, last time out. Eli Manning is going to be trying to get the ball out as quick as possible which makes it more important to get to him early and often. This Giants' offensive line has not been playing well but Tom Coughlin and his staff have done well in pressure situations to help out this struggling unit. Well, it all came crashing down this past Monday. The Cowboys have to get home because Manning is known to give one or two away and this offense needs as many gifts as they can get. Time to go hunting rushmen.
Open Up Play-Action
For some reason, the Giants have always had a hard time covering Jason Witten as was proof in week one where he shredded them on Romo's game-winning drive. Witten is a the perfect guy to get this offense rolling because even if the Giants decide to follow in the Patriots footsteps, they don't have the personnel to compete with him. With Matt Cassel making his debut, it's going to be imperative for these receivers to start making plays and play-action really helps. For one reason or another, they didn't do much with Brandon Weeden behind center. From what I've seen of Cassel, he actually looks pretty good in that area and they need to find some rhythm on offense. The short and intermediate game has killed them slowly and we should expect the coaches to get this turned around. You have to take some chances and they need to try their best to open up this playbook and getting more guys involved. They can't just fold up their arms until Romo and Dez get back.
Capitalize On Mistakes
Eli Manning is going to be determined to clean up his game after last week's performance. The Cowboys cannot allow him to get comfortable this afternoon. They also must play very physical football with Odell Beckham Jr. which is exactly what they did in week one. The Giants receivers are a bit banged up and the Cowboys cannot allow this hobbled unit to dictate the game. If Dallas does implement the 3-2-6 formation, it could really do some damage on New York's ability to move the ball with all those defensive backs. The Cowboys will also be in good position to get takeaways which they have struggled to do this season. This defense, under Rod Marinelli, has been predicated on their ability to create some opportunities for their defenders. It's time to start paying attention to the ball because these takeaways have been there, the Cowboys juts haven't executed very well.
Spark On Special Teams
The Cowboys have certainly missed Dwayne Harris and they need to get somebody back there that can return kicks and get better field positioning. They have to stop with all this starting on their own 15 yard line mess. Rich Bisaccia needs to dial these players in and find some time of spark to get this offense in good position. It's time to take the bubble-wrap off of Lucky Whitehead. He made a mistake in the preseason but you're never going to find out if he can help if he stays in the doghouse. Lucky has the ability to get them some good returns back there and it's time to give him that opportunity. Cole Beasley and company have showed literally absolutely nothing in the return game thus far and change is needed.
The Cowboys need to win a game in the worst way possible to keep their season alive and they have a real opportunity to get that done today. The NFC East is ripe for the taking and Dallas remains the strongest team in the division. They just have to hold on until the troops come back. Their defense gives them the chance to win any game but the offense has to pick it up. There are still plenty of playmakers on offense, they just haven't shown up recently. The coaches have to scrap that conservative play-calling and allow for this offense to get creative. This team cannot afford to keep losing while Romo and Bryant are out. They have to do what's necessary to give those guys a chance when they return. What is necessary starts with getting a win today and making it their sixth in a row against the G-Men.