Week 8: Giants-Cowboys preview

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

N.Y. Giants at Dallas
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas - TV: FOX; DirecTV: 714
*TV announcers: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
*Keys to the game: The Cowboys' most complete game of the season was their opening 24-17 victory at the Giants. Familiarity certainly helps, as QB Tony Romo did an excellent job of identifying the blitz and changing protections at the line. The Giants' front four finally produced a strong rush against Washington last week, but the run defense was gashed again. Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray had 131 yards in the first meeting and his availability as he recovers from a strained foot will dictate some of Dallas' gameplan. Meanwhile, the Cowboys' upgraded secondary played a major role in Week 1. CB Brandon Carr did an excellent job against WR Hakeem Nicks, who is lacking his typical explosion due to foot and knee injuries. But several new weapons have emerged for QB Eli Manning since that setback, and there will be excellent matchups battling downfield. The question then becomes if RB Ahmad Bradshaw can set the table on the ground and buy Manning more time in the pocket.
*Matchup to watch - Giants DLs Linval Joseph and Chris Canty vs. Cowboys C Ryan Cook: Dallas' move to pick up Cook from Miami on the final cut-down day is proving critical with Phil Costa's leg injury. Cook is a more than capable starter, and he'll play an important role in the Cowboys' ability to run between the tackles. Canty returned last week when the Giants were torched for 248 rushing yards by Washington's zone-blocking scheme featuring an extremely mobile quarterback.
*Player spotlight - Giants CB Prince Amukamara: Cowboys QB Tony Romo picked on Justin Tryon starting in place of injured Michael Coe in the first meeting. Amukamara, a former first-round pick, is now in that spot on the right side.
*Fast facts: The Giants have created at least one turnover in 36 of their past 38 games. ... The Cowboys have lost the past three meetings at home.
The Giants' group off offensive playmakers has grown since the Week 1 meeting, and New York will be motivated to avoid a series sweep that could be a big factor down the stretch. Meanwhile, Dallas is still showing too much offensive inconsistency.
*Our pick: Giants 23-20

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