Instant Review: Staff Gives Early Analysis After 24-21 Win


ARLINGTON, Texas –  The staff writers of shared their initial feelings of the Cowboys' 24-21 win over the Giants.

David Helman: It wasn't a pretty night, but an indoor Cowboys team just came into Arctic conditions, grabbed an early lead and withstood a Giants rally to win a division road game. When you spell it all out like that, it's hard to complain too much. The offense struggled once again in a windy MetLife Stadium. But the clutch drive to set up Dan Bailey to win the game was the stuff playoff seasons are made of. Perhaps my biggest impression, though? With Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy, Alfred Morris and LeSean McCoy still on the schedule, this run defense needs Sean Lee back -- and quickly.

Rowan Kavner:The harsh conditions at MetLife turned this game into a sloppy matchup for both offenses, as expected. That put a lot of pressure on each of the defenses to be outstanding. I thought the loss of Sean Lee in this one would be too challenging to overcome, and the Giants had a ton of success running the ball, averaging 6.7 yards a carry. I was surprised they didn't keep doing that more. Orlando Scandrick was fantastic all day against Victor Cruz, and Jason Hatcher continues to make a substantial impact as one of the lone consistent rushers on the team. I thought this one would go to overtime, and it nearly did. But the offense finally clicked, Dez Bryant made amends for early mistakes and Dan Bailey assured the Cowboys yet another NFC East victory with what could be a knockout punch to the Giants. [embedded_ad]

Nick Eatman: Well, I must say I got one to go my way. It's been a while since I hit a few like this. I guess Miles Austin didn't have a huge contribution other than a clutch catch on the final drive. But Jason Witten was big in the red zone, and Jeff Heath played much better this week, even without the 50-yard touchdown return. I thought the Cowboys would get up 27-10 and win 27-24 but I think it's close enough. This team simply couldn't lose this game and somehow they found a way to pull through. I really thought the season was on the line with that final drive and the play-calling, the offensive line, the receivers and the quarterback all pulled together to set up the game-winner. Big-time win.

Here we're the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, David Helman and Rowan Kavner, posted Saturday.

David Helman:The Giants are on a roll, and they're talking like they know it. That's been a little worrisome to me all week, and this morning I thought for sure I'd be picking a Giants win this weekend. But then I thought back to what we know about New York's opposition during the win streak: it hasn't been good. I also thought about what the coaching staff has been saying this week, about new arrangements and aggressive play calls. Tony Romo isn't going to throw for 500 yards, but he's going to make some big plays. Dez Bryant is going to have his longest touchdown of the season. DeMarco Murray is going to run for about 85 yards. And the Cowboys are going to win, something like 34-20.

Rowan Kavner:The weather will turn this much-anticipated matchup into a sloppy mess of a game. That means not many points, and it also puts a lot of pressure on the defense to hold. That could be troubling for the Cowboys, who took advantage of a bevy of Giants turnovers to take the first matchup between the teams but have recently hit a skid. Both sides will turn the ball over this week. The additions of Miles Austin and Jason Hatcher will be huge and I think George Selvie bothers Eli Manning, but I just can't trust the defense for a full 60 minutes yet without Sean Lee. I see it going to overtime where the wind will play in the Giants' favor late on a field goal as the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles all remain alive in the hunt.

Nick Eatman:I really think this is the most important game the Cowboys have played in a while. If they lose, sure they still have a chance to win the division and get into the playoffs. But winning this one is huge in terms of getting to 4-0 in the NFC East and basically owning all tiebreakers, not to mention burying the Giants. Confidence-wise, it would be huge heading into a winnable Thanksgiving Day game. I think the Cowboys play well, and crisper on offense. I see Miles Austin making a difference and Jason Witten having a big day. The Cowboys will play better on defense and I think Jeff Heath responds nicely from his rough night in New Orleans. Overall, the Cowboys grab a good lead and then hang on for the win.

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