Sunday, October 28, 2012
W2W4: Cowboys vs. Giants
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The rematch. This time, the Cowboys and Giants meet not at the end of the season but in October at Cowboys Stadium. In the first meeting, the Cowboys earned a 24-17 victory at MetLife Stadium. It was sort of revenge for the Giants knocking the Cowboys out of a playoff berth last season.
Well here's another chance for the Cowboys to knock down the Giants.
The series: The Cowboys lead the all-time season series, 57-42-2, but have lost five of the last seven games to the Giants. At Cowboys Stadium, the Giants are 3-0. In the last ten games between the teams, seven were decided by fewer than seven points. Should the Cowboys beat the Giants, it would mark the first time they've swept them since 2007.
What's up with the injuries?: Running back DeMarco Murray (foot) and center Phil Costa (ankle) are out. But Felix Jones (knee) and Ryan Cook (hamstring) nursing their own health issues should start in their places. DeMarcus Ware missed all three days of practice with the flu. He's expected to play Sunday. Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has battled injuries all season and he should play. Safety Kenny Phillips and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard are out with injuries.
The return of Marty B: Former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett makes his return to Cowboys Stadium, a place where he never scored a touchdown. Bennett has 25 catches for 305 yards and three touchdowns this season. It will be interesting to see how Bennett performs here. By the way, former Cowboys defensive tackle Chris Canty also is returning, not for the first time, but he's playing in his second game of the season after returning from injuries.
Who's better in the fourth quarter: Eli Manning and Tony Romo might be on alert in the late stages of this game, isn't it always when these teams meet. Of Romo's 157 touchdown passes, 46 have come in the fourth quarter. Among active quarterbacks, Romo has the highest quarterback rating at 101.1. That's higher than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Romo also has completed 63.9 percent of his throws. Eli Manning is just as good in the fourth. He's led his team to 22 regular season game-winning drives, including three against Dallas.
Matchup to watch: The Giants wide receivers take on the Cowboys cornerbacks. In the first meeting, Mike Jenkins didn't play, as he was still recovering from shoulder surgery. Now, Jenkins is back and should get significant snaps against the Giants deep receiving threats. Of course, Jenkins can't do it alone, he's got Morris Claiborne (three pass breakups and one interception) and Brandon Carr (28 passes thrown against and zero interceptions) helping him. Giants receiver Victor Cruz is going to be hard to stop from the slot and Orlando Scandrick (three pass breakups) will be assign that duty. Cruz struggled in the first meeting with a couple of drops and finished with six catches for 58 yards. Since then, he has three 100-yard games and seven touchdowns. Nicks is another dangerous target who is somebody who can catches passes deep and underneath. His health prevents him, at least right now, from stretching defenses deep, but he's still very dangerous.