Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThere’s nothing wrong with Tony Romo from a statistical point of view. He is completing 64.6 percent of his passes and he has a 21-6 TD-interception ratio. Romo also throws one of the most catchable passes in the league and he rarely burns the ball in and forces his receivers to drop the ball. The only issue with his game is his tendency to throw poor passes at the worst possible moment.The Giants have not completely turned it around after their 0-6 start, but they have won four games in a row and given themselves a realistic chance to get back in the race if they can continue to play well. Eli Manning is still not at the top of his game, but he is playing much better. While he has thrown 17 interceptions this year, they are coming at a much slower rate than they did during the losing streak.
- OffenseThe Cowboys don’t want to put it all on Romo’s shoulders and head coach Jason Garrett would like DeMarco Murray to ease his burden with a consistent running attack. Murray has been an up-and-down runner. Dez Bryant is the Cowboys’ biggest threat and he should be able to have his way with the New York secondary. Jason Witten is one of the best third-down weapons in the league.The Giants are picking it up on the offensive end and much of that is due to running back Andre Brown, who is giving them a decent threat in the running game. Wide receiver Victor Cruz has the speed to cause plenty of problems for the Cowboys, while Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle are solid secondary threats for Manning. Tight end Brandon Myers is starting to work his way into the picture.
- DefenseThe Cowboys have fallen badly on defense and they have given up more yards than any team in the league. They were getting a lift from middle linebacker Sean Lee, who was the team’s leading tackler and interceptor, but he is likely out with a hamstring injury. The Cowboys need linebacker DeMarcus Ware to attack the pocket and cause problems for Manning.The Giants were playing poorly on defense at the start of the season but they have gotten steadily better and they rank 11th overall in yards allowed. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul made a huge play against the Packers with a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown, and he may be returning to full health. Strong safety Antrel leads the team with 56 tackles and 11 passes defensed.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys appear to have a major advantage if this game comes down to a special teams battle because they have the best special-teams differential in the league. Dwayne Harris is a dangerous kick returner, while placekicker Dan Bailey has made 17-of-19 FG attempts.The Giants have had big problems on special teams as they have given up three punt returns for touchdowns, and they haven’t had a return longer than 32 yards. The Giants have gotten a solid season from placekicker Josh Brown, who has made 15-of-17 FG attempts.
The Giants are hot with four straight wins, but there is plenty of room for improvement. If the Giants can’t gain an advantage with the other three phases, special teams will give the Cowboys the game. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor