Cowboys Offense vs. Giants Defense:
The tackles - Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo - they're going to have to have a big day. That Giants' line, all the way across with Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka, you have to contain that front. You have to be able to stop them and you have to run the football against them. And you have to be able to protect when you try to throw the ball. The Cowboys weren't able to do that successfully the last time. The Giants did a great job of getting after Brad. I know it's Brad Johnson and not Tony Rom, but they were able to get after Tony last year. And even though they've lost some great pass-rushers, they still have guys that get it done. You lose Michael Strahan and think they're going to slow down, and they don't. You lose Osi Umenyiora for the year, they don't slow down. They've done a great job of developing their young talent and those guys have stepped it up on defense. They're a top-five defense in the league. The Cowboys saw a great defense last week in Pittsburgh, and they'll see another one this week with the Giants.
Giants Offense vs. Cowboys Defense:
Right now, you have to look at the safeties. We really don't know about the health of those guys. If Ken Hamlin and Keith Davis don't play, then it's the young safeties that you have to watch. Guys like Courtney Brown and Tra Battle will play a big role if the veterans don't play. Them getting guys lined up and their run-gap responsibilities. But if all of your main starters are playing, then I think it goes back to normal. And then the key matchup is in the slot with Orlando Scandrick going up against Giants receiver Steve Smith. I think Terence Newman can handle Amani Toomer. That won't be a problem. But Steve Smith is emerging as their go-to guy.
The Cowboys Win If . . .
They have to protect the football. You can't keep giving people four and five extra possessions. If they don't protect the football on offense, they won't win. They have to stop the run. That's what the Giants are. They are a running team. They will go play-action, but they like to run first. Most importantly, and we've said this throughout the year, they can't have any special teams breakdowns. You can't play well for three quarters and then have a mental breakdown and give up a big special teams play. They have to play solid in special teams coverage.
The Giants Win If . . .
The Giants win if they do what they did the first time against the Cowboys and that's rush for 200 yards. That might be harder to do with Brandon Jacobs out. If Dallas can't stop their running game and the Giants rush for more than 150 yards, then it will control the line of scrimmage and it will be tough for them to win.
Giant Eye-catchers . . .
This isn't much of a surprise, but I have to say Eli Manning. This is a guy that people really didn't have a lot confidence in. He got ripped a year ago. People were calling him a bust. He's kind of emerged as that quarterback now. He's changed. He's a guy that the team believes in. I don't think they did a year ago. This is a team that now believes in Eli Manning.
On defense, the guy who has caught my eye is Aaron Ross, the cornerback out of Texas. He is playing extremely well. He makes big plays. He's emerging as a very good corner and that's a guy you have to watch out for on defense.
Cowboys Eye-catchers . . .
I think you need to look at Marc Colombo. No one is really talking about him, although they are a little bit this week because he got that big contract. He got paid some money and maybe that's why he got paid. He's been playing outstanding on the right side.
On defense, you have to say Keith Davis. He has played solid. He's making good tackles and he's not making mistakes. I would love to see the safeties come up with more big plays - interceptions and knocking down balls. But overall, for Keith Davis to come in and play like he has and fill in, I thought he's played well.
Larry's Favorite Giants Memory:
One of my memories against the Giants came at home my rookie year in 1991. I was on the extra-point block and field-goal block. The coaches told me to really get off the corner and try to come around and get the block. I thought I could do that. And I'm facing Lawrence Taylor, who's on the Giants' field goal team and he has these long arms. So I'm going around him and he just sticks his arms out and punches me in the shoulder as hard as he can. I go to the sideline and there's this huge red, almost like hand-print on my shoulder from him punching me. I go back out there and tell him, 'Yo, take it easy man. I'm a little guy.' He said, 'Well, slow it down, I won't punch you so hard.' I always remember that because it was Lawrence Taylor.