This week the Giants travel to Texas to take on Jerry Jones’s Dallas Cowboys. The Giants are sporting a four game losing streak, although the last game against the Packers is being viewed optimistically. The Giants showed alot of fight in the loss, and came within a minute of forcing an overtime against the undefeated Pack. The Cowboys lost a heartbreaker to an inferior Cardinals team that could have been avoided. Basically, the Giants have to win three out of their next four to have a shot at the playoffs. Four wins would guarantee them the playoff slot, but that might be too much to ask for. The G-Men are choosing to look at the loss to GB as a flashback to their loss to the Patriots in 2007. They are hoping that the loss showed that they can come up big when things are on the line, and are viewing the next four games as playoff games.
Offensively, Eli manning is having another great season, and has developed a rhythym with his receivers. He also plays well against Dallas, with 26 career TD’s against the ‘Boys, the most of any opponent. In three of the last 4 games against them, he has thrown for over 300 yards and 2 TD’s, and has had four 300 yard games against Dallas, with three of those games coming in Texas. The Giants are 2-0 in the Jerry Dome, and Manning is 5-2 when playing in Dallas. The return of Ahmad Bradshaw seemed to rejuvenate the Giants’ rushing game to a serviceable level. The running attack doesn’t need to be great, just good enough to make the opponents think twice before committing to an all out rush against the Giants’ overmatched O-Line. Stacy Andrews is out with blood clots, Will Beatty has a detached retina, David Baas is plagued with headaches, everyone knows the drill. Mitch Petrus played well in the loss, and David Diehl slid outside to his natural left tackle slot. This matches him up against the first of Big D’s defenders, Demarcus (big D) Ware. In previous matchups Ware has handled Diehl effectively, so Bradshaw might be called on to help out in protection. The receiving corps looks relatively healthy, so this should be a strength for the G-Men.
Defensively, the Giants are hurting. Safety Kenny Phillips is injured, and will likely miss this week’s game. The return of Chase Blackburn helps the Giants’ defense, and if Michael Boley can go for the full game that makes things even better. The Giants’ answer to Ware is JPP, who is finally showing what a beast he is. The Cards had 5 sacks against Dallas last week, so if the Cowboys line can’t contain the Giants pass rush, look for Dallas to try some max protection packages to give Romo some time. The ‘Boys will also be helped by the reurn of Miles Austin and FB Tony Fiammetta from injury. Dallas has a respectable 115 yards per game on the ground, with another Big D, Demarco Murray, providing a punishing ground game. WR/special teams standout Dez Bryant must be contained, but the presence of Laurent Robinson and TE Jason Witten limit the Giants’ options in dealing with all of Dallas’s offensive weapons.
If there is cause for hope, it would be that Jason Garrett doesn’t have complete confidence in his offense. At times he chooses to rein in Romo, as the loss to the Patriots showed. The decision to ice his own kicker cost Dallas the victory against Arizona,and an argument was made that Garrett is actually responsible for all of Dallas’s losses by being 1) Too conservative 2) Too conservative, 3) A poor game manager.
Conclusion: The Giants are too beat up. They have been talking tough, but not playing up to their words. The potential is there for a win. The Giants need a respectable running game, a solid defensive effort, and the ability to keep the heat off of Eli Manning. The Giants seem to be in a better mental state right now, but who knows. The late season collapse is on their minds, and they might be pressing. Lastly, about a month ago I committed to growing a moustache for a charity event. That’s when the G-Men started their skid. I’m shaving it off tomorrow, so maybe that’ll change their luck. In the absence of superstition, Dallas takes the game 31-28. I hope to be wrong.