Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants: G-Men Will Feast on Tony Romo and the 'Boys
For seven treacherous months we all have been waiting for September 5 as if it was Christmas Day, and the endless news regarding bounty scandals, replacement referees, and player safety has all just made the wait for football drag on that much longer.
The wait is finally over.
The Dallas Cowboys visit MetLife Stadium to take on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Wednesday night. It will be the first matchup between these two bitter rivals since the over-acheiving Big Blue took down the under-acheiving Cowboys by a 31-14 score on New Year's Day last season.
The biggest improvement the Giants look to make this year is on defense. Uncharacteristically, last season, the New York defense was actually the team's Achilles' heel at times. The addition of Keith Rivers solidifies the middle, and the team's young secondary will look to improve upon their subpar 2011 performance.
The Cowboys QB was sacked nine times by Giants defenders last season, and this year the G-Men pass-rush will show no relent.
Jason Pierre-Paul is only getting stronger at the age of 23.
“I am about 50 (percent),” Pierre-Paul told NJ.com. “I am still learning. That is the good thing about it. I want to come out here and learn and keep on improving.”
If 16.5 sacks is what a half-developed Pierre-Paul can manage, the league's quarterbacks can only fret about the kind of beast he'll become in time.
Pierre-Paul blocked a field goal at Cowboys Stadium that essentially saved the team's season in Week 14. JPP also accounted for a third of those nine sacks of Romo last year.
Osi Umenyiora is back with the Giants for at least one more season after he brought Romo to the turf twice in 2011.
"The key is getting pressure on him and I think we are going to try our best to do that,” Umenyiora told NFL AM earlier this week (via NFL.com).
Justin Tuck looks to return to form after a year in which he was battling injuries and personal struggles (via Newsday). His five sacks in 2011 was the lowest total since his rookie year, but he did seem to come on strong towards the latter part of the season.
“It was tough to get us all three on the field healthy,” Tuck said to the New York Daily News (talking about Pierre-Paul, Umenyiora and himself). “I think those last games you saw us playing at the height of what it could have been the entire year."
The Giants secondary may not show to be as dominant as the men closer to the ball, however. 28-year-old Michael Coe will be starting in place of the injured Prince Amukamara. Opposite of Coe, though, will be Corey Webster, who has shown steady reliability ever since the Giants first Cinderella run in 2007.
Webster racked up six interceptions in 2011—a career high—and was one tackle off his career best of 53. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York explains, the team generally prefers to keep Webster on one side of the field, as opposed to shadowing receivers, so it will be interesting to see who Dez Bryant will be matched up with.
With the vast arsenal of weapons on the Giants defensive side, Romo will likely have to look to his running game to get the ball up field. Dallas' starting back, DeMarco Murray, is coming off a season-ending broken ankle suffered last December. Behind him is fifth-year tailback Felix Jones, who has shown nothing more than mediocrity in his four seasons in Dallas.
Trying to muster up some yards against the defending champs will be a tall task for the 'Boys, as it'll be a long night for Tony Romo and the Dallas attack.
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