After a hard-fought win in Charlotte last week, the Dallas Cowboys go home to face their division rival New York Giants for the second time this season. The Giants are coming off a win at Washington after stuffing a comeback bid by Robert Griffin III. Despite the fact that the Cowboys won round 1 against the Giants, both teams are playing much different than in week one. The Cowboys’ offense seems permanently stalled always needing the defense to save them, and the Giants now possess a powerful offensive attack even though their defense still remains inconsistent. The game hinges on two key points, which honestly are pathetically unoriginal: can the Cowboys convert field goals into touchdowns and can the Giants force turnovers. The Cowboys faltered under the last such scenario (against the Bears) by doing neither. Since in retrospect the Wednesday night game looks like a fluke, I’m inclined to say the Giants dominate in an almost Chicago-like fashion, but with the Giants tendency to play down to inferior opponents (at this point the Cowboys are definitely inferior opponents) I think the Cowboys have the possibility of pulling this one out.
News and Notes:
Sean Lee injured his big toe and missed most of the third quarter and the entirety of the fourth. After suffering what was apparently a sprain, Lee tried to reenter the game, but he couldn’t. He then “sat dejectedly” on the sideline the rest of the game. Luckily, he said he thought the injury wasn’t “anything too serious”, so he should be back next week.
Phil Costa injured himself too. The most recent news states that he had a partial ankle dislocation; Jason Garrett said the injury looked “really severe”. I guess that means more Ryan Cook. Awesome.
The Cowboys’ defense has actually been stellar. While the Cowboys on average allow their opponents to score 20 points a game, , the defense has only been accountable for about 13 of those points, as the Cowboys average 5.72 points “given up”, either through pick sixes or a return touchdown. While in the two games with the pick sixes (against Seattle and Chicago) the scores didn’t matter (the Cowboys still would have lost unless potential touchdowns are factored in, but I won’t do that), the Baltimore game with the return touchdown lost the Cowboys the game, as only two points separated the victors and losers. Basically, the Cowboys’ defense has actually been excellent, but the team’s inability to stop defensive touchdowns has led to an inflated points per game statistic.
The Giants allow at least 27 points. Earlier, I mentioned how the Giants play down to opponents, as they allowed 27 points to the Browns and 35 to the Bucs. However, they shut down the Panthers (7 points), so I’d say the Cowboys have a 2/3 chance to achieve this. We have to be better than the Browns.
The Giants win 31-27. The Giants have a top five offense, and the Cowboys allow almost six points a game in non-defensive situations. The Giants have sacked the quarterback 17 times and play a Cowboys team that is missing their starting center. They have forced 19 “takeovers” and have committed only ten themselves, none of them resulting in touchdowns. They don’t have a single non-defensive touchdown. Basically, they matchup with the Cowboys perfectly. The Cowboys, with their great defense and ability to play up to better opponents, match up with the Giants well themselves, but the biggest difference will be penalties. The Cowboys collect them in droves, and the Giants typically don’t.