I apologize for the lateness of this posting. I was away on vaction for a few days, and this is the first chance I have had to access a computer. here goes.
This game has been rehashed so many ways that anything that I could add at this point would be redundant, so I’ll keep it brief. Both teams are nearly identical; they have shown the ability to play brilliantly, and at other times they fail to show up for the game. In order for the G-Men to win, they must establish the running game, which has actually shown signs of life over the past two weeks. Both Bradshaw and Jacobs have been talking alot about how healthy they are and how ready they are. The line must clear things for them. The line must also keep Eli Manning upright. When he doesn’t get sacked the Giants’ record is unreal. The Giants receivers must play through their injuuries; everyone’s banged up at this point on both teams, but the statistics have shown a weakness in what had been a strength this season. One of the reasons for the Giants’ success this season was the emergence of Jake Ballard at tight end. Without his presence in the lineup the opposing defenses have been able to shut down the Giants’ wideouts. Either Beckum or Pascoe must step up.
On defense, the Giants are likely to benefit from the return of Osi. As Perry Fewell simplified things in the game plan, the Giants’ defense picked up. Shuttling in fresh people on the d-line will be a key for the G-Men. The Cowboys receivers are a bunch of speedsters, so the Giants’ d-backs must play heads up ball, or it will look like another track meet for the Cowboys. The word is that be simplfying the game plan the secondary will avoid the blown coverages that cropped up the last time these two teams met. The linebackers must also account for Jason Witten, who is likely to be playing angry after the pro bowl snub he received. This is where the Giants lack of a tight end is most glaring.
Felix Jones is coming off of an injury, and the Cowboys’ o-line has seen some shuffling of late. If the Giants’ can dominate at the point of attack and shut the running game down, that will force Tony Romo into obvious passing downs. This brings us to the real key for this game. How is Tony Romo’s hand? We’ll all find out quickly enough. If Romo is unable to make a go of it, things should look very good for the Giants. Lastly, Tony Romo has a poor record in December. I don’t remember offhand what it is, but I do know it’s on the negative side of the ledger. He’s also 1-0 in January, and today’s January 1.
In summary, the Giants must account for DeMarcus Ware, control the line on both sides with an emphasis on their running game, keep Eli upright, and avoid turning the game into a chippy contest filled with stupid penalties. The team is young this year, and some talent has been unearthed. The G-Men also have a good mix of veterans on the team. I’ll go out on a limb and say the Giants win, 30-28.