Giants vs Cowboys: NFC East Rematch Is Must-Win for Dallas

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Giants vs Cowboys: NFC East Rematch Is Must-Win for Dallas
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys discovered they had an asset in Tony Romo during the 2006 season.

They found a franchise quarterback for the first time since Troy Aikman and figured it would transform them into a perennial playoff team. 

They have made the playoffs in three of Romo's six seasons but have failed to advance past the divisional round.

But during the 2012 season opener, when the Cowboys hit the road to take on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and walked away with a 24-17 victory, there was a brief sense that the Cowboys were finally ready to get serious. 

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But unfortunately, a road win against their most feared division rival was not enough to spark some momentum. The Cowboys regressed to their traditional disappointing form and lost three of their next four games.

Now, with a 3-3 record and a sense of urgency, the Cowboys will have a chance to correct their season, but it will take yet another victory over the Giants.

And to make matters worse, it's not the same unsuspecting Giants they faced in Week 1, but an improved team with a new found sense of confidence. 

The Giants are sitting with a 5-2 record and are coming off a three-game win streak, including a 26-3 road win over the dominant San Francisco 49ers.  

Needless to say, the Cowboys will have to perform at a level we haven't seen in 2012 if they want to exit with a victory.

 

Tony Romo Vs. Eli Manning

Two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning has experienced more success than Tony Romo over the years, but Romo has had considerable production against the Giants (according to ESPN). 

There's no doubt that Manning has the edge when it comes to being clutch and winning in the fourth quarter.

However, Romo typically plays up to par against the Giants and usually performs well enough for his team to win, even if that seldom happens. 

Romo will need to produce, that much is obvious, but his team needs to perform at an equal level. 

As for Manning, he has exceeded 300 yards in three of the last six games, including a 510-yard performance against Tampa Bay. 

But Manning is not an elite fantasy quarterback. His greatness comes from his ability to play clutch football. As a result, the Cowboys have to win the game in the first three quarters, which will take away Manning's opportunity to win the game in the final minutes. 

 

Defense

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Eli Manning was sacked three times by the Dallas defense in the season opener.

In the last six games, Manning has been sacked only twice, including a three-game stretch with zero sacks. 

With this in mind, the Cowboys' primary goal on defense should be taking down Manning.

They need to rattle him and bang him up, which is something he hasn't experienced this season. 

If DeMarcus Ware and the pass rush can force the Giants offensive line to experience a meltdown, it will completely throw Manning off his game. 

But considering the Giants offensive line kept San Francisco out of the backfield all day, it won't be an easy task. 

 

Fantasy Players to Watch 

WR Dez Bryant (Cowboys)

Dez Bryant has come under scrutiny recently for having butter fingers, but against two of the best defenses in the NFL (Chicago, Baltimore), he had a combined 200 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless of the criticism, he's a solid option against a Giants team that modestly ranks 21st in the NFL. 

 

WR Victor Cruz (Giants)

Victor Cruz has caught a touchdown pass in each of his last four games and is coming off a 130-yard performance against the Washington Redskins. 

 

RB Felix Jones (Cowboys)

Felix Jones has been a lackluster fantasy option for the majority of his career, but with 179 total yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks, he's a solid option if you're desperate. 

 

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants)

Ahmad Bradshaw had a slow start to the 2012 season, but he has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games and racked up 414 total yards in the process. 

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