FRISCO, Texas – Here's a look at the two big keys for this primetime matchup against the Giants:
Dallas Cowboys Win If:
The New York Giants are not going to let the Dallas Cowboys offensively take the ball and run it down their throats. They know if they can control the Cowboys' rushing attack it will allow them to play to their strength, which is their secondary.
Landon Collins, in my opinion, only used Dak Prescott's name because he's the quarterback. What Collins should have said is that he and his teammates don't respect these Dallas skill players -- primarily the receivers. The Giants have to think that, regardless of who the Cowboys run out there on Sunday night at receiver, that Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins and B.W. Webb can cover them.
In the previous matchups, there was the Dez Bryant factor for them to worry about, but that's no longer the case so the Giants can concentrate on using Landon Collins in a support role. Where the Giants are likely to have a problem in their coverage will be a lack of a pass rush, especially with no Olivier Vernon in the lineup. Carolina had a pass rush. The Giants don't -- but the Giants' secondary is better.
The Cowboys receivers did a nice job of getting open against the Panthers, but they weren't rewarded for their efforts. I don't see the Cowboys living by the run alone, so their ability to throw the ball with Dak Prescott will be key. If they are to win this game, they will need to be able to win on the outside like they did last weekend. Finishing plays will be important because these Giants corners will make every ball a contested one.
New York Giants Win If:
There is going to be tremendous pressure on this newly-revamped Giants offensive line to hold up their end of the bargain Sunday night. As a unit, they struggled against a very good Jacksonville front seven. The Jaguars' power and speed gave them problems throughout the game.
What the Cowboys have been able to show defensively, through the preseason and now into the regular season, is that their defensive line can affect the way the game is played for their opponents. Carolina was only able to move the ball on the ground against this front due to mental mistakes. The Panthers didn't physically beat up on the Cowboys. They gave up plays because, scheme-wise, they had missed assignments. Once they were able to lock in, that was a problem for the Panthers.
The Giants are going to want to run the ball with Saquon Barkley to take as much pressure off Eli Manning as they can. The Jaguars forced the Giants to abandon their running game and make the offense run through Manning. That played right into the Jaguars' hands, as it will for the Cowboys if they can hold Barkley in check.
The Cowboys defensively would love nothing more than tee off on this offensive line and work to rattle Manning. In the later stages of his career, pressure has bothered Manning to the point where you can force him into major mistakes.
The Giants have outstanding offensive skill at running back and wide receiver, but they're lacking at offensive line and quarterback. For them to win this game, they cannot have their offensive line play poorly because it affects the quarterback and the way he plays. The Giants need him to play well to have a chance.