After a HUGE win at Seattle, the Cowboys are clearly off to a great start with an impressive 5-1 record. Dallas was the more physical team in that game and have established an identity in 2014 as a running team with a dominant offensive line.
Sunday will be their first division game this season as the Giants come to AT&T where they have had plenty of success in the past.
So far it has been an up and down kind of season for the Giants who have played well at times (a 30-17 victory over the Texans) but were completely shut down and shut out by the Eagles 27-0 last Sunday night. It may be a mistake to assume they will play that poorly again this week. A look at what went wrong in that game for the Giants and how Dallas may try to capitalize on some of the same weaknesses exposed by the Eagles.
Giants Defense: Giants Look for the Big Play
Romo beware because the Giants lead the entire NFL with 10 interceptions this season. They also have 11 sacks which is certainly more than Dallas has so far this season. Against the Eagles, the Giants intercepted Foles two times.
On defense the Giants like to get after the QB and play the short passes tight looking for a pick when the QB is pressured. However it also means they are some what vulnerable to the deep pass as they have allowed a significant amount of passing yards. The Giants rank 24th in the NFL in passing yards allowed.
But when they get a sack they make it tough on the offense as they have been impressive on 3rd down only allowing a 32% conversion rate.
Against the Eagles McCoy had a HUGE game rushing for 149 yards. Clearly Murray can put up those kind of numbers too and is looking for a sick 7th game with over 100 yards. The Cowboys are going to continue to ride that horse and why shouldn’t they? Establish the run and pound Murray at them.
If the offensive line can allow Romo time, he should have some opportunities to throw deep to Terrance Williams a proven deep threat with a spectacular catch last week in their win. Was that pass actually intended for Witten? We give Romo the benefit of the doubt on that one.
The Giants are kind of the opposite of the Seahawks in their approach to defense. They pressure the QB, jump the short passes, and dare you to throw it deep.
It will be important to establish the run and take a few deep shots off play action. Romo needs to be careful with the ball when pressured, as the Giants secondary has been quite opportunistic. They are aggressive and looking for the pick.
Giants Offense: O-Line Struggles to keep Manning up right:
Against the Eagles, Manning was sacked 8 times! Interesting that six of those sacks were Eagle linebackers blitzing. LB Connor Barwin had three sacks in the game.
When Manning is getting bounced around like that, he not only makes that notorious pouting face but he becomes frustrated which can make things go down hill quickly for the offense. As a defense, you want to see that face.
This season the Giants have had more success running than passing the ball as they average over 100 yards rushing per game.
Get after Manning with blitzing LBs! Among the LBs, Durant has probably been the most effective at blitzing for Dallas so it makes sense to fire him on passing downs to exploit a not so great Giants offensive line. Also Dallas has DE Anthony Spencer back and in the Seahawks game he really got off the ball quickly and applied pressure regularly. He could potentially have a big game against Giants tackle Justin Pugh who struggled a great deal in the Eagles game. Coming out of college, it was noted by scouts that Pugh possesses short arms which don’t serve a tackle well in the NFL.
The Cowboys defense must make stopping the run a priority as it is what the Giants do best. In the Giants win over the Texans, RB Rashad Jennings had a career high 176 yards rushing for the game. In that game the Giants special teams blocked a punt so the Cowboys, who had one blocked Sunday, need to tighten up punt protection.
Recap Main Points:
-Establish the run and take some shots deep against the Giants defense.
-Romo take care of the ball. The Giants will intercept passes.
-Pressure Eli particularly with LB blitzes which the Eagles had a lot of success doing. Manning is no scrambler.
-Defend the run first. The Giants can run it.
-Get ahead early and make the Giants play catch up with a pass game.
-Clean up the special team blunders from last week.