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Keys To Victory: Seeking Mistake-Free Football


The first time around, the Cowboys dominated New York from start to finish, cruising to a 44-20 win at AT&T Stadium.

For that to happen again, the Cowboys need to get back to their offensive ways and be balanced. But the Giants will likely be a tougher team at home, especially with a chance to play spoiler against a divisional rival.

Here's a look at the keys to victory for both the Cowboys and Giants.

The Cowboys will win if…

The Cowboys can essentially wrap up the division with a clean game against the Giants. If the team avoids turnovers and silly penalties on offense while getting an efficient effort from Dak Prescott, the Cowboys should be able to move the ball up and down the field against the Giants. Corey Clement needs to complement Ezekiel Elliott on the ground to give the running game a little more pop against a sturdy defense. If the Cowboys' offensive line is able to control the trenches, the offensive coordinator can put up points utilizing a conservative game plan that keeps the ball out of harm's way.

Defensively, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn needs to release the hounds on the Giants' offense with a backup quarterback in the lineup. Micah Parsons, Randy Gregory, and Demarcus Lawrence could destroy the Giants' frontline on a variety of stunts, games, and blitzes that create one-on-one pass-rush opportunities at the line. If the Cowboys rough up the quarterback early, the secondary will come down with a handful of interceptions on overthrows down the field. The combination of pass rush and coverage should overwhelm the Giants and lead to a comfortable win against an NFC East foe.

The Giants will win if…

The G-Men will need to play their best game of the year to knock off the Cowboys. The team has shown flashes of putting a complete game together, but it will take a 60-minute effort to get it done against the Cowboys.

Offensively, the Giants must find a way to get Saquon Barkley going from the opening snap. The dynamic running back is a big-play threat as a runner-receiver but he needs enough touches to make an impact. The magic number for No.26 could be in the 20-to-25 range with the fourth-year pro getting a combination of runs and throws that enable him to have an impact on the game. If the Giants' top playmaker gets open, it will create more opportunities for Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard to get loose on the perimeter on a variety of quick-rhythm passes that enable them to get the ball in space. The Giants' inefficient passing game has not gotten untracked in recent weeks, but the trio certainly has enough skill to put up big numbers if the quarterback gets hot.

On defense, the Giants need to take away the big plays and force Prescott to drive the length of the field utilizing an assortment of dink-and-dunk passes. The veteran quarterback has been in a bit of a slump and testing his patience/discipline should be a top priority for a defense that plays with great fundamentals and technique. If the Giants can force the Cowboys to play a boring offensive game, they could keep the score close and find a way to steal the game at the end.

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