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New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys: Five things to watch for

Well, the effort last week against the San Francisco 49ers was there, but it all went for naught, as the New York Giants dropped their fifth loss in a row, losing to San Francisco 16-10.

Granted the season has not gone the way many had initially hoped, but with the Dallas Cowboys coming to town you can throw out the records, as this rivalry will always have juice no matter the circumstances. Even though the Cowboys are favored, the Giants will want to keep their fans happy and end their losing streak. And what better team to beat to end that streak than the hated Cowboys?

Here then are five things to watch for in Sunday night’s showdown.
Will the Giants still play with intensity and heart?
Although morale has to be low in the midst of this losing streak, trying to play spoiler against the Cowboys should prove to be great motivation.

The Giants are definitely playing hard. They are fighting and going down with the ship, while speaking favorably of head coach Tom Coughlin. For the Giants, the main problem is execution. Not to mention injuries and a lack of talent at certain positions are also hampering the club.

Expect the Giants to rise to the occasion once again while giving the home crowd something to be proud of.

How will Eli Manning respond after horrific five-interception game against the 49ers?
Well, safe to say, Manning has only one way to go and that’s up. At least you’d hope so.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, Manning was brutal last week, throwing bad pass after bad pass. Then again, many times he was hurried and pressured, which also factor into his performance. The Cowboys should be more accommodating to Manning, as they hardly have the defensive playmakers that the 49ers possess.

Manning did a pretty decent job of attacking the Cowboys through the air in the first game, completing 21 of 33 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns while throwing no picks. If Manning can have similar success at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, the Giants stand more than a puncher’s chance of winning.

How do the Giants game plan to stop DeMarco Murray?
Completely stopping the league’s-leading rusher in Murray will be a damn near impossibility. Containing him, though, is more of an appropriate game plan.

Murray rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown in the last contest in Dallas. If the Giants can limit him to under, say, 100 yards, it would go a long way in keeping the Giants in the game. With the Giants ranking last in rushing yards against (allowing 145 yards per game), expect the Cowboys to feed Murray the ball a ton.

Tony Romo’s arm may fall off after all the time he will hand the ball off to Murray. If the Giants have ideas of winning, just containing Murray in the slightest has to be at the top of the list.

Can Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie step up and contain Dez Bryant?
The Giants spent a lot of money in the offseason on Rodgers-Cromartie and so far the results have been mixed.

With injuries mounting in the secondary, Rodgers-Cromartie has to pick up the slack and carry the Giants here. Trying to stop the uber-athletically gifted Bryant is indeed a tall task. On the year, Bryant has recorded 56 receptions for 793 yards and eight touchdowns.

As previously mentioned, the Cowboys will likely attack the Giants on the ground first and foremost, but Romo will take to the air at times to get Bryant involved. How Rodgers-Cromartie handles Bryant, especially on play-action passes will play a big factor in the game.

Can the Giants get anything going in the running game?
This an area of the game that the Giants must simply have to improve upon. As  a team, the Giants are only rushing for 100.3 yards per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. The Giants have not had a running back rush for over 100 yards since Rashad Jennings did so back in Week 3 against the Texans, when he erupted for 176 yards.

In fact, no Giants rusher has rushed for more than 66 yards in a game since that time.

Dallas has done a solid job against the run, yielding only 109 yards per game— 11th in the NFL. However, Dallas is vulnerable and their defense has had its share of injuries lately while showing cracks in that part of the game.

With the way Manning played last week, he’ll be sure to give his running backs all the chance to jump start the offense. It will only help in play-action calls.

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