It may be early but the Cowboys’ home game tonight against the Giants is a huge game for both teams. New York crushed Washington last week but tonight will prove to be a better test for a team picked by many for the Super Bowl. The reason is simple-Dallas is loaded with enough talent to take down the mighty Giants, nationally however, nobody will believe in this team until they knock off a super power like the Giants. Division rivalries are thrilling and seeing the ’Boys introduce the world to their new shiny stadium and actually play well in it will go a long way to determine what this team is made of.
Tony Romo had no problem whipping the ball around last week against Tampa’s weak defense, not the case with serious pass rushers and solid players at levels two and three. Dallas has to get running back Marion Barber going early, if they pound the ball inside it should help slow the pass rush. Tony Romo is good with play-action passes, running the ball is essential to doing just that. Get Barber the ball, don’t fall in love with big plays early. If the ‘Boys can get a lead, look for Roy Williams to get more looks downfield.
New York Offense:
Eli Manning wasn’t impressive last week, but he’s also trying to break-in inexperienced receivers. Steve Smith and Mario Manningham had good games and should be able to do even more against Dallas’ weak defensive backfield.
Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are important but I think it’s more vital for New York to establish a downfield threat. Dallas hasn’t been able to stop receivers deep downfield in recent memory.
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is the Dallas defense. He doesn’t have a dominant three in front of him, but if they can at least hold tackles off Ware, Eli Manning will have a long day. Ware may be the best pass rusher in football but I’m not confident that anyone else will be able to put pressure on Manning. New York’s offensive line is too good.
Dallas wasn’t great against the run last week and it won’t get any easier this week, but they certainly have a better shot at stopping the run than rushing the passer.
New York Defense:
Getting to Romo to the tune of 4 sacks and a pick or fumble-six should be pretty easy for this group. They forced Jason Campbell into the ground and many mistakes a week ago, Romo is better at reading and releasing the ball quickly, but this bears watching. New York’s deep defensive line is the strength of this team. Dallas can lean on the fact it’s offensive lineman are among the league’s heaviest and may be able to wear-down the Giants’ starters. We shall see.