Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys VS Giants matchup preview

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10: Dak Prescott /

The Dallas Cowboys will square off against their heated rivals, the New York Giants. Here is a preview of this important NFC East contest.

The Dallas Cowboys are heading to Metlife Stadium this weekend for a crucial showdown with the New York Giants. There are a lot of factors going into this game that make this matchup important, particularly from a playoff perspective.

The Atlanta Falcons surprise win over the New Orleans Saints makes this a surprisingly pivotal game for Dallas. Here are several things to keep an eye on during this bitter, divisional rivalry showdown.

Can the running game be as successful as it was in Week 13?

The Dallas Cowboys routed the Washington Redskins largely because of the Cowboys ability to control the clock and gash Washington for big plays on the ground. Alfred Morris had fun feasting on his former franchise, however, will he be that geared up to take on the New York Giants?

It will be a cold and potentially snowy day in New Jersey as these two rivals go head to head which means the run game will mean more than it typically does. Just based off of personnel the edge has to go to the Cowboys as the New York Giants have struggled to put together a cohesive group of running backs.

The Cowboys depend on the run to set up their offense, we have seen how they can struggle if this does not happen. It is absolutely crucial that Dallas carries over some of that intensity from facing Washington as they attempt to utilize a similar game plan. The Giants may be missing a ton of defenders, but they still stop the run fairly well.

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Is Dez Bryant heating up?

Dez Bryant made a rare appearance in the end zone during Week 13 as he made an incredible grab in the end zone. This left myself and most Cowboy fans wondering, why don’t they do that more?

Dez has one on one coverage several times throughout the course of a game, so why not trust this matchup more? Well, to be honest, the Cowboys need all phases of their offense to work for anything to work at all.

Bryant’s big plays set up by the ground game/big yards on the ground are easier to attain when the Cowboys wide receivers are gashing their opponents for big plays through the air.

So if playmakers are making plays, there are no issues, it is when one phase fails that we see issues with the passing game. Bryant has had an average year at best so now with a tremendous matchup awaiting him he has to seize this opportunity.

The Giants will be missing cornerback Janoris Jenkins as he has been sent to injured reserve. The Giants second starting corner Eli Apple is questionable at best so Dez should have time and space to make some big plays on Sunday.

How will the return of Sean Lee effect the Cowboys defense?

Sean Lee will return this week after missing the last three games because of a hamstring injury. He is the most vital piece to the Dallas Cowboys defense as he is their quarterback on that side of the ball.

Lee’s return means only bad things for the Giants running game as their committee should struggle mightily at getting anything going on the ground. Lee was a force in the Cowboys first matchup with the Giants and should continue to be the playmaker we have seen all season long.

In a game in which running the football could be so crucial, Lee’s return was very important for Dallas. The Giants will be missing their version of Lee, linebacker, Jonathan Casillas as he was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.

Safety Landon Collins has been known to really focus on the ground game as he was one of the more disruptive defenders the first time these two teams squared off. Expect him to have a more active role in stopping the Cowboys potent ground game.

Can the Giants offensive line hold up against the Cowboys pass rushers?

The Giants are hurting along the offensive line but that has been the case all season long. The Dallas Cowboys had a field day the first time these two teams have met, and since then their best pass rusher (Demarcus Lawrence) has become the NFL’s sack leader.

Lawrence will be asked to do a lot in this matchup as he will be going up against Ereck Flowers who has been pretty lackluster all season long. The Giants could also be missing starting right tackle Justin Pugh so there could be some pretty big problems on both ends of the offensive line.

The Gmen are also missing a couple of their starting guards as well so there are plenty of new problems for a Giants line with a ton of old problems to deal with. The Cowboys pass rush should dictate how this contest goes.

Eli Manning is a starter once again:

This is the one factor for the Giants that scares me, Eli is a starter again. Manning has not been great over the last five seasons but that is not his fault, that has been Jerry Reese’s fault for not getting him an adequate offensive line or complimentary ground game.

Now that Manning has been made the starter again I don’t think he will be fighting to keep his spot or anything like that because he is already gone. I am worried that he will just be mad, mad at everything that has gone on this season with the Giants.

Next: The Dallas Cowboys could receive some help on Sunday

An angry Manning is a scary Manning and while the Dallas Cowboys defense is more than up for the challenge, it still is a bit worrisome. The Cowboys controlled the line of scrimmage against Washington thanks to their lack of starting caliber offensive line and the Giants could see similar problems this week.

Manning does not have any healthy receivers besides Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram to throw too so the Cowboys should be able to control this contest.