No mercy! It is time to put the Giants out of their misery.
Now I'm not saying the game Sunday is going to be a cake walk. The Giants are going to come out fighting with everything they have left. But the Cowboys have a golden opportunity to not only essentially end the playoff hopes of the Giants, but they can also build some momentum heading into a brutal December stretch run. The Cowboys can get it done and I believe they will.
The Giants are dealing with injuries at several key positions. No injury is bigger than the foot injury that Eli Manning is dealing with. He is trying to downplay the injury but any quarterback will tell you that it is your footwork and using your legs that determines the quality of a pass more than anything else. Eli isn't going to be back at full strength until he gets a chance to rest his foot during the offseason. The defense needs to put pressure on him and force him to move around on his bad foot. Antonio Pierce is out for the season so maybe the Giants won't do as good of a job audibling the defense right before the snap every play this time around. And the running backs aren't operating at full strength. Apply some punishment to Jacobs early and he will shut it down.
The offense needs to keep the momentum from the Raider game going. I love the big plays but I'd like to see some consistency and a sustained drive early in the game that ends in a touchdown instead of a long, missed field goal. The Cowboys need to get out of the gates fast to keep the crowd from becoming a major factor in the game.
The defense will need to weather an early storm. The Giants are going to come out full of emotion. If they can get to Manning early and shut down the running game early on I think the Giants will struggle all game long. If the Giants get out fast we might have a shootout on our hands.
No matter the record or injury situation with either team it is still going to be an NFC East battle. A blowout victory is unlikely because the two teams are so familiar with each other. As much as I'd like to see a 20 point win the odds are that the game will be won or lost in the 4th quarter. That means that players in all phases of the game will need to step up and make plays at key moments in the game.
Tony Romo has to play at least a decent game to secure a win. In the first game he played terrible but still gave the chance to win. When he plays well the Cowboys win. It would do him a world of good to play well and win a road December game in front of what is sure to be a frenzied crowd. I think Tony is playing with confidence but it would help him play well down the stretch if he can get on a roll. It is time for Tony to take the next step as an NFL quarterback and this game will move him in that direction.
I know the game will be a battle. But the Cowboys have to win games like this one if they expect to make the playoffs and end their playoff drought. The vibe from the players feels good this week. I predict a 27-17 game but the game will be much closer than that sounds.