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Keys to Victory

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Keys to Victory: Which RB Can Break Free?


Football analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout who now works for NFL Network and serves as an analyst for, gives his weekly keys to the game Sunday, providing specific points of emphasis for both the Cowboys and Giants.

The Giants will win if…

The Giants are playing winning football due to their ability to avoid the "DBOs" (Don't Beat Ourselves) that compromise a team's opportunity to win games. The G-Men have avoided turnovers, eliminated big plays, and reduced their pre-snap and foolish penalty count. In addition, the Giants have excelled in the kicking game to give their offense and defense a favorable field position.

Against the Cowboys, Brian Daboll will attempt to keep his team focused on playing complementary football with the offense, defense, and special teams units working together to get the win. Offensively, the game plan will likely revolve around Saquon Barkley's ability to make plays as a runner and receiver. If he registers 25-plus touches as the No.1 offensive option, the Giants will be able to keep Daniel Jones in a managerial role. Given the quarterback's turnover woes, the Giants want to minimize long-yardage situations and reduce the risky throws.

Defensively, Wink Martindale wants to dictate the action of the Cowboys by stuffing the run with an assortment of blitzes and simulated pressures. If the Giants can neutralize Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, the game hinges on the performance of a backup quarterback against a top-flight defense. Considering the chaos Martindale creates with his unique pressure packages, the Giants can chalk up a win if they control the Cowboys' running game and force the young quarterback to win the game through the air.

The Cowboys will win if…

The Cowboys should be able to win with a conservative game plan against the Giants. Their division rival is a one-man show on offense with Saquon Barkley viewed as the only significant threat in the lineup. Although No.26 is a dynamic weapon out of the backfield, the Cowboys have a fast defense with enough speedsters on the second level to keep the talented playmaker under wraps. If the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year is bottled up early, Daniel Jones will likely turn the ball under duress. The Cowboys must find a way to put the game on his shoulders to enhance their odds on game day.

Offensively, this game comes down to the production the unit gets from its stars. Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, and CeeDee Lamb must combine for 200-plus scrimmage yards to keep the offense on schedule. Through some creative scheming, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore must keep the Giants guessing while handling a dangerous frontline who is intent on winning the game with a splash play. Given solid protection and spacious running lanes, the Cowboys' winning formula starts with winning the line of scrimmage.

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