On Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, the first place Dallas Cowboys take on their NFC East division foe, New York Giants.
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses where the Cowboys coach Jason Garrett made two questionable plays calls against the Arizona Cardinals in the final minute.
For the Giants, they stuck with the undefeated Green Bay Packers up until the last 40 seconds, but ultimately loss their fourth straight game.
Though this is the first game between the two teams this season, a win Sunday would help both solidify a playoff spot. With a Cowboys victory they would go up two games on the Giants and with the easier schedule of the two, almost guarantee a playoff spot.
The Giants, who are 2-0 at Dallas’ new stadium, have a chance to be tied in first place come Monday morning.
Three Things to Watch:
Cowboys Wide Receivers vs. Giants Secondary:
With the return of Miles Austin and the emergence of Laurent Robinson coupled with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, the Giants secondary have their hands filled.
Safety Kenny Phillips, who sprained his knee last week in the loss to the Packers, is listed as doubtful on the Giants injury report. However, he did tell the media that he is preparing to play in the game.
According to the Giants official website, Phillips has tested the knee by doing some work on the sideline during practice.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “Nothing is torn, which is a great thing, so just like I say, (it’s) kind of day-to-day.”
The Giants will need Phillips to cover Witten.
Giants Defensive Line vs. Cowboys Offensive Line:
The Cowboys offensive line allowed Tony Romo to be sacked five times last week against the Cardinals.
The Giants defense ranks fifth in the league in total sacks led by Jason Pierre-Paul with 10.5. Coach Tom Coughlin has already ruled out defensive end Osi Umenyiora, but with Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Pierre-Paul rushing Tony Romo, the Cowboys might have to resort to max protection if the line falters.
Eli Manning vs. Cowboys Defense:
Manning is 300 yards away from having his third consecutive season of throwing more than 4,000 in a season. On the year he has thrown 23 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, looking like an MVP and the quarterback who the Giants traded for in 2004.
The Cowboys defense enters this game tied with the Houston Texans for the most sacks in the league with 35. 15 of them have come from the NFL sack leader, DeMarcus Ware. Having cornerback Mike Jenkins back helps, but if Ware and the rest of the front seven cannot get to Manning, expect the game to favor the Giants.
This game will come down to whoever has the final possession. Both defenses have the potential to be game-changers, but given the home field advantage and more playmakers on the offensive side, I give the slight edge to the Cowboys, 24-17