The New York Giants will look to get back to their winning ways as they take on the Dallas Cowboys on ‘Sunday Night Football’ at MetLife stadium. The Giants will be looking to sweep the season series from the Cowboys for the first time since 2011. The Cowboys will look to clinch the NFC East title for the second time in three years with a win.
It will be a tough task for the Giants to defeat the Cowboys with their star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul out for the season, but the Giants matchup well with the Cowboys and feel confident heading into their matchup on Sunday.
Here are the keys to victory for the Giants:
1. Don’t turn the ball over
The Giants are currently tied for 24th in turnover differential at -5 whereas the Cowboys are currently tied for 13th at +2. It’s imperative that the Giants not lose the turnover battle on Sunday night. The Cowboys are playing to well for the Giants blow scoring opportunities by turning the ball over in the red zone, or give the Cowboys offense a short field to work with.
2. Win on 3rd-downs
The Giants offense is converting only 35.1 percent of their 3rd-downs. They will need to get up above 40 percent of their 3rd-downs and keep the Cowboys vulnerable defense on the field in order for them to win. The longer the Cowboys defense is on the field, the more chances the Giants offense has to expose their defensive flaws.
For the Giants defense winning on 3rd-down means stopping quarterback Dak Prescott go to guys on 3rd-downs which is Cole Beasley and Jason Witten who are first and second on the Cowboys in receptions. The Cowboys offense is converting 46.1% of their 3rd-downs which is fifth best in the NFL. The Giants can’t allow the Cowboys to convert 3rd-downs and control time of possession if they hope to win on Sunday.
3. Contain Zeke
Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing, and is averaging 107 yards per game. In their Week 1 matchup, the Giants held Elliott to 51 yards on 20 carries which is his lowest output for the season. It might be too much to ask the defense to hold Elliott to that total again without Jason Pierre-Paul. But if the Giants defense can hold Elliott to around 80 yards it will bode well for their chances of winning. Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, and Johnathan Hankins must play well to stop Zeke.
4. Try to establish the run
Everyone knows the Giants have been struggling all season running the football as they have the 31st ranked rushing attack in the NFL. But in Week 1 the Giants had success gaining 113 yards on 24 carries. If the Giants can have similar success on Sunday, it will force the Cowboys safeties to play closer to the line of scrimmage which will allow the Giants to take more shots downfield with their passing game.
5. Spread the ball around
Over the last two weeks, Odell Beckham Jr. has had 27 targets compared to just 13 combined for Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. Beckham is by far the Giants most explosive player, but the Giants offense flows better when everyone is getting involved. Despite the Giants offensive line woes the Cowboys do not pressure the quarterback well. So Eli Manning should have time to look at his second and third reads. Cruz and Shepard both scored in their week matchup, and at least one of them should be able to find the end zone on Sunday.
6. Use Odell as a punt returner
Games between division rivals are sometimes determined by special teams. In last year’s game between these two teams at MetLife stadium, a kickoff return for a touchdown by Dwayne Harris proved to be the difference maker. Harris has been hampered this season with injuries which is why Odell Beckham Jr. has occasionally returned punts over the last few weeks.
There might be no one better in the open field than Beckham, and if the Giants are able to block the Cowboys punt team, Beckham may take one back for a score.