The New York Giants have shown flashes of being a good team this season, but not consistently enough that Cowboys fans should worry about Sunday night's game in New Jersey.
As long as the Cowboys stick to what they've done well this season, they should notch win No. 8 and move even closer to a playoff berth for three reasons.
1. League's Best Run-Blocking Offensive Line
Anyone who has watched the Cowboys this season can see that the offensive line has performed exceptionally blocking the run, but they actually rank as the best in the league according to one statistic. Dallas ranks first in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards stat, which measures blockers’ impact on running plays.
Guess which NFL team has surrendered the most rushing yards this season. That’s right, the Giants. New York’s defense gives up an average of 145 yards rushing per game and 4.9 yards per carry.
So the formula for Sunday is simple: Hand off, gain five yards, repeat.
2. New York's Offensive Line
Conversely, the Giants mediocre offensive line was just offensive after right tackle Justin Pugh left last Sunday’s game with a quad injury. Pugh left after eight snaps and the San Francisco 49ers abused what was left, especially on the right side.
Look for defensive tackle Henry Melton and whoever else is playing over guard John Jerry and whoever the Giants plug in at right tackle, as Pugh is on track to miss Sunday’s game.
The Cowboys defensive line hasn’t notched many sacks this season, but that’s not as bad as many people think. The goal of defenders, especially along the line is simply disrupting the offense’s play. As Rotoworld and NBC Sports writer Josh Norris often says, “Disruption is production.” He’s right, especially because of…
3. The Other Manning
Eli Manning has had his moments, but he just isn’t as good as his brother Peyton. Not even close.
Eli has more Super Bowl rings than Peyton, but that’s about the only edge he holds over his big brother. Eli’s decision-making and anticipation is subpar, but the area where he really lags behind is pocket presence.
Eli senses pressure well, but he responds to it poorly. He doesn’t move well enough in the pocket and he tends to force poor throws, resulting in a lot of interceptions. In fact, he has led the NFL in interceptions three times and is only three off the league lead this season.
The Cowboys defensive line doesn’t have to sack Eli Manning to be effective. They just need to get in his face, which they shouldn’t have trouble doing against the Giants’ patchwork offensive line.
Even if they can’t impact the game defensively, it shouldn’t matter. Dallas’ rushing attack should move through the Giants’ defense like a hot knife through butter on the way to winning by at least a touchdown.