Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 22, 2013

Jan 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) meet on the field after their game at MetLife Stadium. Giants won 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo might not be Peyton Manning, but he could look like Manning compared to the quarterbacks the New York Giants have defeated on their current four-game winning streak.

Romo ranks in the top 10 in pretty much every major passing category, and he's beaten the Giants two of the last three times his Dallas Cowboys have faced them. 

In their last four games, the Giants have gone up against Josh Freeman, who is the league's lowest-rated quarterback and had just been traded to Minnesota two weeks prior to the matchup, an injured Michael Vick, raw rookie Matt Barkley, a limping Terrelle Pryor and Aaron Rodgers' replacement, Scott Tolzien. 

They were supposed to beat Tolzien and the banged-up Packers, Freeman and the train-wreck Vikings, and the Nick Foles-less Eagles. And they were supposed to take care of the Raiders at home after their bye week. But now Dallas is the team coming off its bye, and the Cowboys are healthier than they were two weeks ago. 

Is this the week the Giants' hopes of making an unprecedented playoff run are finally squashed? 

Here's our final preview of the matchup, along with a prediction.


What Dallas must do to win, offensive edition

Put together a complete game. The Cowboys picked it up late against Philly, Detroit and Minnesota and then completely lost an early groove against New Orleans. DeMarco Murray has been good this year, but he needs to get some momentum going early. That basically applies to this entire offense. 


What Dallas must do to win, defensive edition

Don't let Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle take over the game. That passing game has shown some signs of life. The Cowboys defense is in trouble regardless, but they'd be much better off letting Andre Brown gash them than letting Manning throw bombs. 


What New York must do to win, offensive edition

Control the pace. The last time these two teams met, it was a turnover fest. This time, the Giants have Andre Brown to slow things down against an opportunistic Dallas defense. Some balance might go a long way Sunday.


What New York must do to win, defensive edition

Make plays. Simply put, the Giants need Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck and the rest of that defensive front to fluster Romo and force turnovers. 


Five most important nonquarterbacks, Cowboys edition

Murray: Dallas is just so much better on offense when it has balance.

Dez Bryant: I think the Cowboys have come to grips with the reality that Bryant needs to become a more prominent part of the offense, starting this week.

Bruce Carter: This year's been a struggle for Carter, but now he has a chance to atone for his slow start by filling the hole left by the injured Sean Lee.

Orlando Scandrick: He's been the Cowboys' best cornerback this year, and now he'll face one of his toughest battles yet in Cruz. 

DeMarcus Ware: At least he's healthy again. This depleted D needs him more than ever.


Five most important nonquarterbacks, Giants edition

Pierre-Paul and Tuck: This whole defense is playing great, with guys like Jon Beason, Terrell Thomas, Will Hill, Prince Amukamara and Linval Joseph delivering in big ways, but it all starts with whatever pressure JPP and Tuck can bring.

Amukamara: Corey Webster handled Bryant in that season-opening meeting. Now, that task will likely be led by Prince.

Giants defense, 2013
Yards (rank)Points (rank)Takeaways (rank)
Weeks 1-62348 (27th)209 (32nd)7 (25th)
Week 7+1013 (1st)26 (1st)11 (2nd)
Pro Football Reference

Brown and Brandon Myers: Nobody will have more chances to exploit that paper-thin linebacking corps. Plus, they'll be needed as blockers.  


Injury analysis, Cowboys edition

During the bye, Dallas got Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox back. Plus, Ware has had two extra weeks to rest that quad. The Cowboys should be much fresher on both sides of the ball, but not having Lee could really hurt. Throw in the fact that Justin Durant and DeVonte Holloman haven't been practicing, and that linebacking corps could get owned. 


Injury analysis, Giants edition

The Giants are becoming healthy at a good time. Pierre-Paul, Webster and Hakeem Nicks were all practicing later this week, along with the entire 53-man roster, according to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano.  


B/R NFC East blog prediction: Cowboys 31, Giants 28

Dallas looks as though it got a fair bit healthier on its bye week, and the Giants have been beating up on bad opponents. This will be another wacky, tight NFC East game, but I think the Cowboys, who still have the talent edge, pull it out.


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