IRVING, Texas – From a history standpoint, the Cowboys only have two more longstanding rivals than the Giants. But the actual team traveling to AT&T Stadium from New York this weekend looks anything but familiar.
With the loss of Victor Cruz last weekend in Philadelphia, just about all of the Giants' primary players – with the exception of Eli Manning – will be relative newcomers to this matchup.
"We know Eli, we know how he reads things, where he's going to go with things, and he knows us," said Orlando Scandrick. "The familiarity with the players might be a bit there, but even that – you look across there and Hakeem Nicks is gone, Victor is out for the year, Bradshaw is gone, Jacobs is gone, David Wilson is gone."
From Nicks to Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, Scandrick has a point. Many of the biggest contributors on the New York side of the ball are gone from the roster. Pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul remains on the defensive side of the ball, but even longtime standout Justin Tuck departed for Oakland last spring.
"We're learning each other again," Scandrick said.
Cruz might be the biggest of all of those losses, as he was the Giants' most dependable playmaker on the season.
He had 337 yards and a touchdown on the season when he tore his patellar tendon on Sunday night.
Scandrick, who matched up frequently with Cruz in the past three seasons, acknowledged it will be odd not to see his adversary on the field this weekend. Cruz has averaged 56 yards in six career games against Dallas.
"They were pretty much running their offense through him, and he was reliable – he was Eli's Mr. Reliable," Scandrick said. "So we'll see what he'll do now for his Mr. Reliable."
Whoever that is, it might not be a name Cowboys fans are familiar with. Rueben Randle is New York's No. 2 receiver behind Cruz, and he torched Dallas for 165 yards in two games last year.
But behind him, breakout tight end Larry Donnell has never logged a catch against the Cowboys. Odell Beckham Jr. and Andre Williams, both expected to start this weekend, are rookies.
[embeddedad0]"They've got a new tight end that's a weapon, they've got Odell Beckham Jr., that's a weapon, and obviously they've got a new running back," Scandrick said.
Ironically, the Giants just signed some wide receiver help that should be very familiar to the Cowboys – they added Kevin Ogletree this week to help offset the loss of Cruz. Ogletree played four seasons for the Cowboys from 2009-12, and he enjoyed his standpoint moment when he had eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns – in a season-opening win against the Giants.
"There are a lot of things to love about him that Eli will take a liking to," said Tony Romo.