Sunday, January 1, 2012
How you feeling? Cowboys-Giants
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As you get ready for Sunday night's NFC East title game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, here's one reason for Cowboys fans to feel good and one reason for Giants fans to feel good.
Cowboys feeling good: Well, they're not the Jets. The Cowboys' offense, when it's at its best, is one of the top passing offenses in the league. And over the second half of this season, the Giants have struggled mightily to contain passing offenses that have this many weapons -- including the Cowboys, who scored 34 points against the Giants in a Week 14 loss in Dallas. The Giants' defense looked as good last week as it has all year, but it was against a Jets team that made the foolish decision to ask Mark Sanchez to drop back 67 times and throw 59 passes. The Cowboys won't ask Tony Romo and his bruised right hand to throw that much, but they should be able to be more efficient and effective against the Giants' secondary, as long as they can keep the Giants' pass rush off of Romo's back.
Giants feeling good: That pass rush looks as though it'll be at full strength, with defensive end Osi Umenyiora back from his ankle injury to join linemates Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul in the effort to hit and rattle Romo. Given the Cowboys' struggles on the offensive line, the Giants have a chance to make this game about quarterback pressure, and when they're getting after the quarterback the way they can, the Giants can be a very good defense. They don't blitz much because they believe they need as much help as possible in coverage, so the key is to get pressure with their four down linemen. Having all three of their top pass rushers healthy for the game will help them do that.