The Dallas Cowboys took the New York Giants by surprise in Week 1 in New York, so logic says they should be able to do so again this week back in Big D. The problem is that Dallas hasn't played too well since that opener and the G-men are one of the hottest teams in the league.
Throw in that the Cowboys are without DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee and it's easy to see why the Giants are fairly heavy favorites for the rematch.
I'm guessing you can tell where I'm leaning, but you'll have to do some reading (or scrolling) before getting the prediction.
What New York Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition
Take everything the Dallas linebacking corps will give you without Sean Lee, committing to the run and not risking the mistakes Eli Manning's been prone to.
What New York Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition
Force Felix Jones or Phillip Tanner to beat you. Instead, ensure that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin don't finally explode.
What Dallas Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition
Take some shots deep on play-action. You've got nothing to lose and the receivers could exploit that secondary.
What Dallas Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition
Hope that Anthony Spencer, Dan Connor and Bruce Carter can at least come close to filling the void left by Lee so that the Giants aren't able to dominate on runs and inside passes.
Five Most Important Non-Quarterbacks, Giants Edition
Ahmad Bradshaw, Martellus Bennett, Will Beatty, Jason Pierre-Paul, Prince Amukamara
Bradshaw and Bennett will have a huge opportunities with Lee out, while Beatty will likely have to deal with DeMarcus Ware. Pierre-Paul will again be counted on to apply enough pressure on Tony Romo to help a weak secondary, while Amukamara will probably have to stop Bryant.
Five Most Important Non-Quarterbacks, Cowboys Edition
Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware, Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Miles Austin
I believe Spencer is the player most capable of replacing Lee as a versatile presence in the linebacking corps. If he sticks to run defense and pass coverage more than usual, a lot will fall on Ware (what's new?). Smith and Free have to buy Tony Romo time against a pass rush that could break out at any moment. Austin and Bryant are both crucial, but Austin's playing better right now.
Injury Analysis, Giants Edition
Bradshaw's questionable with a foot injury, but he's expected to play. He struggled with the same injury last week, so it's something to watch. Fortunately, the Giants have quality depth this year with David Wilson and Andre Brown. Not having Jacquian Williams hurts, too, but not as badly this week with Dallas' backs limping.
Injury Analysis, Cowboys Edition
No Phil Costa after he played so superbly in his return to the lineup. Ryan Cook hasn't been bad at center, but the Cowboys really could have used Costa. Murray and Lee are out, as I mentioned, and Felix Jones is questionable. Phillip Tanner could get a large load Sunday, which works to New York's advantage, of course.
B/R NFC East Blog prediction
I really wouldn't be shocked to see a blowout, but I think Dallas will do a better job than expected replacing Lee and it is confident considering how well it played this Giants team in Week 1. But a lot has changed since then, so I'm sticking with the healthier and hotter G-men.
Giants 27, Cowboys 21
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