Despite losing two divisional games early on, the New York Giants have surged on this season, demolishing the San Francisco 49ers and coming back against the Washington Redskins in the last two weeks.
Although both of these wins are crucial to New York for both their division and conference standings, perhaps the most pivotal game for the G-Men so far this season comes Sunday against the rival Cowboys.
Having lost in Week 1 to Dallas, the Giants will look to take revenge on the road at the new Cowboy Stadium, where they have yet to lose since it opened three years ago. New York will arrive in Arlington with a third-ranked pass offense that matches up against a Rob Ryan defense which has allowed the third-fewest passing yards this season.
Should those numbers force the Giants to the ground, they will be confident in the legs of Ahmad Bradshaw who has scored a touchdown in each of his last three games. This figures to be the difference, as Dallas has scored just two rushing touchdowns on the year.
Despite a 4-0 start, the Cardinals have stumbled recently, dropping their last three games.
Meanwhile, Frank Gore and the 49ers' offense have been busy posting the second-best rushing attack in the NFL, scoring eight rushing touchdowns and running for an average 176.6 yards per game. That is a mark that will be tough for the Cardinals' 20th-ranked rush defense to contend with, but even more difficult for their offense to match.
Suffering injury upon injury to both of their quarterbacks, not to mention a revolving door at running back, the Cardinals have found it difficult to piece together any consistency in their offense. Don’t expect that to change against a Niners defense that has allowed less than 175 yards on average through the air this year.
Although Matt Stafford and the Detroit offense has averaged 307 yards passing this season—second-most in the NFL—it is a pass attack that will definitely be without Nate Burleson and potentially their star receiver, Calvin Johnson, who was limited in practice Thursday.
Likely, this will mean that Detroit will have to develop a rushing scheme that can overwhelm a Seahawks defense that has allowed just two touchdowns on the ground this season.
The Lions are 2-1 against the NFC West already, but they have struggled with tough defenses that include San Francisco and Chicago, so expect that trend to continue when they host Seattle this week.