Sunday, November 24, 2013
Welcome to MetLife Stadium
By Todd Archer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Welcome to MetLife Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants, and with a win would move back into first place in the NFC East. A loss would not end their season but it would be crippling.
Change in roles: Jason Garrett said Bill Callahan will continue to call the plays, but the Cowboys' head coach is now at least in the relaying of plays from Callahan to quarterback Tony Romo.
Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson will join Callahan in the coaches’ booth and tight ends coach Wes Phillips will move from the booth to the field. In the first 10 games, Romo and Wilson would look at the pictures between series and communicate with Callahan upstairs. Will Garrett take his eyes off the defense to talk between series with Romo?
There has been a dysfunction to the process since Callahan was named the playcaller. This is not his offense, and Garrett is in must-win territory, despite what Jerry Jones said last week.
Only with the Cowboys.
A healthy return: Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is back in the lineup after an aggravated stinger knocked him out of the New Orleans game. Cornerback Morris Claiborne is back after a two-game absence with a hamstring injury. Safety J.J. Wilcox is back after missing three games with a knee injury. Defensive end DeMarcus Ware was back against the Saints but could not finish the game after his quadriceps tightened up.
Ware said he feels better heading into today’s game than he did entering the game against the Saints.
The Cowboys will need Ware to be more than just effective, just as they will need Hatcher, Claiborne and Wilcox to be better, especially with linebacker Sean Lee out with a hamstring injury.
When these teams faced off in September, Eli Manning threw for 450 yards and Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle had more than 100 yards each.
In the elements: Weather can be a great equalizer. The cold and wind at MetLife Stadium could be a huge factor. The wind chill is expected to be about 17 degrees. The wind will be whipping.
These two teams like to throw the ball. The Cowboys have not run the ball effectively for most of the season. The Giants have run the ball more in their four-game winning streak but not exactly well, averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
The kicking game will also be important and the coin toss could mean more than normal. The Cowboys like to defer if they win the toss on the road in order to get the first possession of the second half with the crowd still at the concession stand. Maybe they change that up today.