Giants vs. Cowboys: Highlighting Top Matchups to Exploit in NFC East Showdown

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IOctober 25, 2012

Giants vs. Cowboys: Highlighting Top Matchups to Exploit in NFC East Showdown

0 of 4

    The Cowboys vs. Giants matchup rarely disappoints. 

    Whether it's a scintillating comeback by Eli Manning in Dallas or a Tony Romo-led upset victory for the Cowboys in the Meadowlands, the storylines after the game are always compelling. 

    After surprisingly upending New York in Week 1 to open the 2012 campaign, the Cowboys host the Giants in JerryLand and have a prime opportunity to complete the season's sweep. 

    These are the biggest matchups each NFC East squad should exploit en route to what would be a huge divisional victory for either side. 

New York Giants: Running Backs Against Cowboys Defense Without Sean Lee

1 of 4

    The New York Giants aren't known for their running game, but currently, they've totaled the eighth-most yards on the ground his season with a steady balance of Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, David Wilson and Da'Rel Scott. 

    The team's 4.5 yards per carry isn't too bad either. 

    Dealing with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr out wide, the Giants will be smart to establish the run early in this showdown.

    Dallas has a relatively stout run defense, or should I say "had" a stout run defense. 

    Middle linebacker was lost for the year last week, and he's been the key cog in the Cowboys' run-stopping efforts. 

    Without him in the center of the defense, the Giants must take advantage. 

    Getting the running game churning to start the game should yield big chunks of yardage, keep the defense off the field and set up play-action. 

New York Giants: Victor Cruz in the Slot

2 of 4

    Is there anyone better than Victor Cruz in the slot? 

    Some would say Wes Welker, but in terms of big-play ability, Cruz is the best in the league when lined up at the inside receiving position. 

    He'll likely be followed by either Morris Claiborne or Brandon Carr all evening, but even so, they are no match for the speedster when he's provided the entire middle of the field to operate. 

    During the first few possessions when the run's being established, a few quick hitters to Cruz must be mixed in. 

    Later on, he'll be able to use his early game tendencies to break off a double move and hit the big play that's become a weekly occurrence. 

Dallas Cowboys: Running Backs Against Rather Porous Giants Run Defense

3 of 4

    Like the Giants, the Cowboys have to dedicate themselves to the run in this one. 

    They have run the football 73 times over the last two weeks, something not typical of a Jason Garrett game plan. 

    Sure, they totaled only 87 yards on the ground on 31 carries against the Carolina Panthers last week, but it kept the defense fresh and helped them win the time of possession battle by more than seven minutes. 

    Tony Romo is a capable quarterback, but he's much more effective when the threat of run is fresh in the minds of the opposing defense. 

    Although New York has one of the best defensive lines in football, it's clearly more intimidating rushing the passer than it is stopping the run. 

    Teams average 5.0 yards per carry against the G-Men this season. 

    DeMarco Murray's out for the Cowboys, but Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner must carry the load in this one. 

Dallas Cowboys: Miles Austin Against Whoever Covers Him

4 of 4

    Dez Bryant has been the subject criticism over the last two weeks, and his drops are undoubtedly frustrating. 

    After a masterful but ultimately disappointing 13-catch, 95-yard, two-touchdown performance in a loss to the Ravens, he was held to two grabs for three yards against the Panthers a week ago. 

    While Tony Romo should look his way frequently, he can't forget about Miles Austin. 

    The team's No. 2 receiver has 25 receptions for 428 yards and four touchdowns on the year. 

    Though not as physically impressive as Bryant, he has a knack for getting open and had four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown against the G-Men in Week 1. 

    With all eyes on Bryant and Jason Witten, the Cowboys must feature Austin early and often.