Game Scout: Cowboys at Giants

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Dallas Cowboys (5-5) at New York Giants (4-6)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
*Keys to the game: The Giants' turnover woes were at their ugliest in the opener at Dallas. QB Eli Manning was intercepted three times and the Giants lost three fumbles. With slot WR Miles Austin returning from a hamstring injury, the Cowboys will spread the field and let QB Tony Romo operate with empty formations, daring the Giants to play man coverage and rush four. The Giants don't want to be baited into the high-speed chase, but intend to protect Manning with a blend of running plays and play-action passes. Manning had 450 passing yards and three 100-yard receivers -- Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz -- in Week 1. Cruz, who caught three TDs in the first meeting, and Randle are worrisome challenges for a defense ranked 32nd against the pass, allowing 313 yards per game. DE DeMarcus Ware expects to play, but the Cowboys are without top playmaker Sean Lee at middle linebacker.
*Matchup to watch - Giants MLB Jon Beason vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten: Witten is accustomed to bruising Big Blue with 26 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games against the Giants. Witten caught eight of nine passes thrown his way for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the September game, but Beason has been heady in the middle.
*Player spotlight - Giants WR Victor Cruz: With two TD receptions of 70-plus yards against the Cowboys in his career, this is a matchup Cruz and Manning thoroughly enjoy. Cruz averaged 23.6 yards per reception in the opener and had a six-catch, 178-yard outing on Jan. 1, 2012.
*Fast facts: Opponents converted only 7 of 32 third-down chances against the Giants in the past three games. ... Romo has 12 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 117.7 rating against the Giants in the past four meetings.
Eli Manning has won six of the past nine meetings and Dallas squandered multiple opportunities to distance itself from the rest of the NFC East this season. The Giants are more capable of a stop than the Cowboys, whose best chance to win these days is asking QB Tony Romo to put up 30-plus points.
*Our pick: Giants 31-23

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