Dec. 12, 2016
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants preview
If the NFL regular season ended today, the Dallas Cowboys (11-1) and New York Giants (8-4) would represent the NFC East in the postseason. So far, the Cowboys are the only NFC team to earn a playoff berth. They also have a chance to clinch the division title with a win over the Giants on Sunday night. However, the Giants are the only team to knock off the Cowboys. Therefore, both teams are facing their most critical game of the season.
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Where: Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday, Dec. 11, 8:30 p.m.
The Giants' Offense
The Giants are coming off of a shameful performance last Sunday. After winning six straight games, the offense crumbled under the pressure of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 24-14 loss was marred by incomprehensible turnovers. Eli Manning completed 24-of-39 passes for 195 yards. He added two touchdowns and two interceptions during the pivotal match up.
Furthermore, the Giants ran the ball 14 times for 56 yards in the loss. Are you trying to be a winning team? Are you trying to be a passing team? It's December. Therefore, the Giants better get their running game intact today. If not, Big Blue may get run out of the building. It's safe to say, a playoff berth could be on the line. However, if Manning is struggling early, the Giants could be in deep trouble. They must establish the ground attack.They also must score touchdowns when the opportunities are there. Yet, the Giants need to take field goals if the offense sputters in the redzone.
Points are at a premium in this league. For example, 9 of the 12 Giants' games have been decided by seven points or less. In fact, their opening season win over the Cowboys came by one point. Remember, the Cowboys were unable to get out of bounds as time expired.
Manning enters the game with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Although he's completing 63 percent of his passes, the Giants have been inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball. Odell Beckham is the main attraction for the offense, but the Giants have to find ways to get him involved. He leads the team with 75 receptions and eight touchdowns. However, Beckham hasn't received one rushing attempt this season. Sterling Shepard has one rushing attempt for 22 yards. These playmakers need the ball in their hands and the Giants will need to break tendencies at some point.
The Cowboys' Offense
We all know where the Cowboys' offense begins. They present very serious challenges along the offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott is tearing up the league during his rookie season. The first-year running back is averaging 107 rushing yards per game. He already has 1285 yards and 12 touchdowns. Yet, Elliott only gets 21 attempts per game. He had 50 yards on 20 attempts in Week 1.
The most interesting aspect of the game revolves around Dak Prescott. The rookie quarterback has led the Cowboys to new heights. In fact, he's played so well, the Cowboys had to demote Tony Romo to the bench. However, Prescott has played so well, Romo may see quite a bit of action during the final month of the season. Therefore, if the Cowboys clinch the NFC East title today, they may have a Romo sighting next week. Chances are, the Cowboys will clinch home field throughout the playoffs with another win. Will success derail the train?
Currently, Prescott is befuddling the NFL with his precision passing and timely running. Coming into the game, he's completing 68 percent of the passes, with 19 touchdowns and two interceptions. Prescott also has five rushing touchdowns. The added dimension will keep the Giants' defense in check.
Despite only playing in nine games, Dez Bryant leads the Cowboys with six touchdown receptions. Since returning from injury, Bryant has amassed four games over 19 yards per catch. The big play is returning to the Cowboys' offense, and that doesn't bode well for the Giants. Cole Beasley leads the team with 60 catches. He is also second on the Cowboys with five touchdown catches.
Landon Collins leads the Giants with five interceptions. He also has three sacks from the safety position. In all, the Giants have accounted for 11 interceptions. Meanwhile, Dallas has not been adept at taking the ball away. So far, the Cowboys have four interceptions as a team. Barry Church leads the way with two.
The Giants are in a must-win situation. With two road games left, and a home date against the Detroit Lions, the postseason berth can be earned today. More importantly, the Giants can prove to be the best team in the NFC East regardless of record. Meanwhile, the Cowboys just want to keep the wheels rolling.
New York Giants 24
Dallas Cowboys 21