Sunday Night Football: Giants-Cowboys Preview and Prediction

Midwest Sports FansAnalyst ISeptember 17, 2009

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys calls time out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

If the New York Giants are going to spoil the regular season christening of Dallas’ new billion-dollar stadium, then Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw must bring their A-game.

Both teams won last week’s season opener, but the Cowboys were gashed by Tampa Bay on the ground for 174 yards in the 34-21 victory. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams picked up 97 yards on only 13 carries while Derrick Ward gained another 62 yards on 12 attempts. Each back found the end zone once.

If New York gets that kind of productivity, and the defense plays as it did against Washington, we could see an upset in Big D.

The G-Men have history against them, however. Dallas has won four of the last five meetings, and three of the last four in Dallas.

Here is all of the viewing information for this weekend’s game:

New York Giants (1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

  • Giants-Cowboys Date: Sunday, Sept. 20
  • Giants-Cowboys Time: 8:20
  • Giants-Cowboys TV Network: NBC
  • Giants-Cowboys Announcers: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth
  • Giants-Cowboys Point Spread: Cowboys -2.5
  • Giants-Cowboys Over-Under: 44
  • Giants-Cowboys Preview — (Dallas Sports Fans)
  • StubHub: Giants-Cowboys tickets as low as $40!

In last December’s game at Texas Stadium, Giants quarterback Eli Manning was sacked eight times, picked off twice, and did not throw a touchdown pass in the 20-8 Dallas victory. This is another reason why New York running game is so vital.

Jacobs ran for 117 yards in last season’s Giants victory in New York, but the big bruiser missed the blowout loss in Dallas.

If the Giants are unable to get anything going on the ground, DeMarcus Ware and Co. will be able to pin their ears back and head right for Manning. Surprisingly, Dallas was unable to register a sack last week in Tampa after Ware led the NFL with 20 sacks a season ago.

Tampa quarterback Byron Leftwich completed 61 percent of his passes and threw for 276 yards as the Buccaneers totaled 450 yards of offense.

For Dallas, the recipe for success is eerily similar.

The Cowboys have their own one-two punch in the backfield. Establishing Marion Barber and Felix Jones on the ground will open things up for Tony Romo. Dallas rushed for 118 yards against the Bucs, led by Barber, who had 79 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Romo enjoyed a superb opener, throwing for 353 yards and three touchdowns, including seven passes to Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams for a combined 221 yards. It’s clear that the Cowboys don’t miss Terrell Owens. Romo’s efforts this past Sunday made up for the lackluster defensive performance in the Sunshine State.

While Dallas’ defense was underwhelming in victory, New York’s unit overwhelmed Jason Campbell and the Redskins. They held the Redskins to 272 yards—85 rushing—and forced two turnovers with three sacks, including one and one-half by NFC defensive player of the week Justin Tuck.

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora, back after missing last year with a knee injury added a sack and a forced fumble of Campbell. He then returned the fumble 37 yards for a score in the 23-17 win.

Manning was not spectacular against Washington, but was efficient, going 20 of 29 for 256 yards with one touchdown and one interception, completing passes to seven receivers.

That kind of efficiency begins with pass protection and a solid running game. Both teams have basically the same strengths. It’s just a matter of which squad can establish the ground game early, pressure the quarterback, and create a turnover—something Dallas has struggled to do the last few years.

The clubs have already begun the war of words, with Jacobs and Ware both saying they “hate” the other team. It would seem the passion on the field in this storied NFC East rivalry has finally caught up to the passion in the stands.

The passionate ones in the seats could be the difference in this game, if Dallas can feed off its crowd in the home opener. The Giants will do all they can to silence the expected sell-out crowd. That could be easier to do with their 260-pound tailback on the field.

With Jacobs in the lineup, this is a completely different Giants team, and New York just might be leaving Big D with a big W.


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