For the second time in three weeks, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys will square off in an NFC East showdown. Based on the outcome of the previous game and each team’s performance since then, this should be an easy blowout for the Giants.
But not so fast! It’s amazing how much can change in three short weeks, and this Cowboys team will not be the same one the Giants faced in Dallas. For one thing, the Cowboys are still without Tony Romo, possibly for the whole season, and don’t forget which team made that happen! Jon Kitna is the starter for now, and will need a breakout game this week in order to keep his job. Although he is not generally thought of as a threat, he has seen some success in past years with less weapons than he has now.
Kitna is not the only one who should play this game as if his job depends on it, because owner Jerry Jones has now proven that he will not allow his team to continue to underachieve. For the first time since purchasing the team, Jones has fired his head coach in-season. Jerry did what he had to do, and I would not be surprised if more people lose their jobs before the 2011 season.
If Interim Head Coach Jason Garrett is smart, he is doing everything he can to convince his team that the blame for their downfall lies solely with the Giants. After all, they embarrassed the Cowboys in a winnable division game at home, and knocked out their quarterback for good measure. Historically, teams with much less talent have found success after the departure of their coaches, and I would not be surprised to see a real sense of urgency out of the Cowboys.
In other news, the Giants are once again suffering from injuries to key players on the offense. The team will start yet another new O-line combination on Sunday, and now there are early reports that Steve Smith suffered an injury in practice. If he is unable to play then Eli Manning loses a major weapon, one that has found a great deal of success against the Cowboys.
While all of this is cause for concern, the Giants should be fully aware that this is a new Cowboys team they are facing at home. Tom Coughlin is a professional who understands the psyche of his team and those he faces. He will not allow past success to affect the mentality of his players. If anything, he will push the Giants to be sure they are ready to face a desperate team that is out for blood. It’s always a nail biter when the Giants and Cowboys face off, but this is a resilient team with a smart coach who will not allow them to take any team lightly, not even the 1-7 Cowboys.