The 3rd home game in a row awaits. The Dallas Cowboys roll into New Jersey in what has become two different stories for these proud franchises: The New York Giant and their less than average offense and the Dallas Cowboys and their decimated defense.
The New York Giants are fighting and clawing their way up the NFC ladder with 4 straight wins and while no one can apologize for the NFL schedule or the injuries that happen, Big Blue has made this resurgence by taking advantage of 4 mediocre quarterbacks. Despite their wining ways, Eli Manning and his high-flying offense has been grounded.
Over 10 games the Giants have had only two 100 yard rushing games(29th in NFL) and are 28th in the NFL in points. With the lack of protection for Eli Manning, pushing the ball vertically down the field has become impossible.
That “lack of time” to throw the ball has dramatically affected the Giants offense. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has become a non factor and Manning is either being hit, sacked or intercepted. Thank you Jerry Reese.
The Dallas Cowboys on the other hand still heavily rely on a big time defense that creates quick turn overs so gunslinger Tony Romo can get the ball into the end-zone as many times as possible; however the Cowboys defense is down for the count.
Inside Linebacker Sean Lee, tied for fourth in the league in tackles (93) and leads the team with 4 interceptions is out with a hamstring injury. All world defensive end DeMarcus Ware, and Defensive Tackle Jason Hatcher are back at practice and expected to play, yet both players have missed significant amount of time over the last 4 weeks.
Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox will try to knock off the rust after missing the last three games and former first round pick, corner back Morris Claiborne was back at practice but still might not be ready to play on Sunday.
Despite losing to the Cowboys(36-31) in Dallas during the season opener, it was by far the most impressive air attack the Giants have had. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle combined for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns. It would make sense for Eli Manning to go after Wilcox and Claiborne again.
Despite the lack of protection for Eli Manning and the obvious need for an upgrade on the offensive line in the off-season, one good thing has developed: the mid range quick passing game. In past years Cruz and Nicks took this offense vertical, pushing the ball up the field in big chunks. Sadly, with Nicks seemingly “checked out” and Cruz facing better coverage, the development of Randle through the slant and skinny post has become a positive.
If the Giants would invest in a real tight end and stop the revolving door every year(4 TE’s in 4 years), Eli would be able to capitalize on the weakness in the middle of the Cowboys defense(Sean Lee and JJ Wilcox). For example: Romo and Witten are a well oiled machine torching opposing defenses between the hashes.
One can only hope that on Sunday the Cowboys Defense is worse than the Giants Offense.
Craig J. Santucci | Managing Editor