The Giants may have missed out on an opportunity to take control of the NFC East when they dropped a rivalry game to the Eagles on Monday, but now Big Blue has a chance to reassert its dominance in the division in its upcoming meeting with the Dallas Cowboys.
The two teams last met in Week 1 in a game the Giants led for most of the second half. However, clock mismanagement by New York and an epic comeback drive led by Dallas’s Tony Romo flipped the script and gave the Cowboys a 27-26 victory.
To get revenge in the rematch at the Meadowlands, the Giants will have to eliminate some of the mistakes that plagued them during the recent loss to Philadelphia. In that game, quarterback Eli Manning was pressured into three sacks and a pair of interceptions.
“We’ve got to do a good job mixing up our protections, getting the ball out quick, some play action, run the ball well,” said Manning, “I think we’ll be in good shape. If we’re moving the ball and getting first downs, getting completions, you get hit sometimes playing this game.”
With Romo sitting out Week 7 and wide receiver Dez Bryant likely to miss the game as well, the Giants will be favored on Sunday afternoon at home. Stopping the Dallas offense won’t be as challenging for Big Blue as it was in Week 1, but the Cowboys are making some changes to their roster, which has suffered three defeats in a row. Matt Cassel is taking over for Brandon Weeden under center and tailback Christine Michael is expected to play a larger role in the running game than he has before.
No matter which Cowboys play prominent roles this week, the matchup is one that the Giants have to win if they want to be taken seriously as contenders for the division title.
“I think all the division games are crucial,” said Manning, “All of them are important, all of them are big, so every game counts in this league, everyone is important. But the fact it is Dallas and we’ve played them already, it’s a chance for us to get back to a winning record. It’s a big one and we’ve got to go out there and play well.”
If the Giants turn the ball over like they did in Week 6, they could find themselves in third place on Monday morning.