Through six weeks, the NFC East is a very evenly matched division, with no clear favorite emerging just yet. While that sounds exciting, the reason for that is that every team in it has been below average relative to their expectations, leading to a competitive but unimpressive division. In a rematch of their Week 1 matchup, the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys will look to get a huge win toward their goal of winning the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys Fighting Injuries
Dallas won its first two games of the season, one coming against the Giants and the other against fellow NFC East foe Philadelphia, but have been completely derailed by injuries suffered during those games. Quarterback Tony Romo was lost to a broken collarbone in the Philadelphia game, while star wide receiver Dez Bryant broke his foot against the Giants. Since then, the Cowboys have been lost.
After consecutive losses to the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and New England Patriots, the Cowboys are coming off of a bye week to face the Giants in another crucial division matchup. Sitting just one win back of first place in the division, Dallas should consider themselves fortunate to be in this decent a position despite those key injuries. They will be giving it everything they have to avoid falling further behind.
From a talent perspective, the Dallas Cowboys are still one of the most talented teams in the NFL. They’re just lacking their big play makers on offense, which has shown in their steep decline in production on that side of the ball. Taking on a suspect Giants defense may fix that, however.
New York Giants Fighting Themselves
While the Dallas Cowboys have legitimate reasons for their early season struggles, the New York Giants have simply beaten themselves time and time again. Tom Coughlin’s team lost their first two games of the year (including one against these same Cowboys) due to clock management mistakes then, after three consecutive wins, were destroyed by the Eagles due to turnovers, poor pass protection, and key penalties. While eliminating those issues are easier said than done, at least the blueprint for success is clear for the Giants.
This time around, the Giants will have an edge as their defense will take on a significantly weakened Cowboys offense, but if they allow Dallas to extend drives by committing penalties, the players the Giants are opposed by aren’t relevant and will make them pay regardless.
With a two game road trip to face the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFC South after this game, the Giants will want to notch an important home win here to keep themselves at least tied atop the NFC East standings before what will be two challenging games well over a thousand miles from their home stadium.
Despite the Giants’ advantage against the Dallas offense, Dallas’ offensive line can easily turn that around with their ability to create running lanes and give backup quarterback Brandon Weeden time to throw. That offensive line will be they key to this game and will decide the outcome.
By: Jason M. Sanin