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Mailbag: Challenges Of The Bye Week? Copying The Giants' Game Plan?

CALEAB LOSEEVICTORVILLE, CA
The team has talked a lot lately about the dangers of coming out flat after the bye week heading into the playoffs. Coach Garret is exactly .500 when coming off a bye week, neither good or bad. What's the difference, if any, between a bye during regular season and a first round bye in the playoffs? Are the benefits, and/or difficulties, the same?

David:People talk a lot about rhythm and momentum, and that's fine. Personally, I look at the fact that this team will have played 16 total games and 10 without a break when the bye rolls around. It's a perfectly-timed opportunity to try and get healthy. Maybe it'll be a challenge to keep an edge during the week off. But once game week rolls around, and there's a divisional playoff game on the schedule, I don't think anyone will have a problem locking in.

Rob: I guess one difference is that in the playoffs, you're spending that bye week not sure exactly who you're playing next. I do think that in this era of parity you've seen wildcard teams benefit from staying in rhythm without a week off. Still, you never complain about a bye and rest. Jason Garrett's message to the Cowboys about keeping its edge is the right one. Problem is, this team has so many players banged up across the roster that I don't know how many normal reps starters such as Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott can get on Sunday.

JIM DANDYBLACK OAK, AR
The NFL is known as a copycat league. Teams will use what other teams use to be successful. Having said that, why haven't teams been able to replicate what the Giants were able to do to the Cowboys, and how do the Cowboys correct that should they meet the Giants again in the playoffs?

David: I would argue that some teams have successfully copied that plan. The Eagles' defense gave Dak fits for three quarters back in October, but their offense couldn't do enough to finish things off. The Vikings were also able to execute a similar plan. The problem is that you need a strong secondary and a stout pass rush to disrupt this offense. There just aren't very many teams that can match the Giants' assets up front and in the secondary.

Rob: Because you can't copycat personnel. You need to give the Giants credit for what their defensive players have been able to do against the Cowboys in two games. They cover really well in the secondary and they've got a front four that crowd the line of scrimmage against the run and get to the quarterback without having to blitz out of pure necessity.

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