Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giants: Cowboys preview

In a lot of ways, the Cowboys and Giants are similar teams. Both have offenses that have productive QBs and some dangerous skill position players. At the TE position, while Witten is much more accomplished and has a better resume than Ballard, neither TE is a real down field threat, they are both more in the classic mold of throwback TEs, working the short and intermediate routes often in the middle of the field. Both teams have OLs that have undergone major changes coming into the year and have performances that have been somewhat spotty throughout. Cowboys have run the ball much better than the Giants, largely because their FB blocks well. Both offenses have been averaging about the same number of points per game.

The similarities don't end there, because the defenses are comparable as well. Both teams have defenses that are predicated on the pass rush. Both have a very good DL and like to come after the QB. As well, both have holes and weaknesses in the back 7. Cowboys have better LBs, and the Giants probably are slightly better at CB, though Ross of the Giants  has certainly been up and down this year.

What does this all mean? It means to me that this is likely to be a fairly high scoring game (take the over) and the team that will win is the one whose OL can protect the QB and neutralize the opposing DL/pass rush best. Turnovers are always crucial in every game (do I sound like Coughlin yet?) but somehow it seems to me that in this game they will be even more important. If points flow easily like water through a faucet, defensive stops will be few and the best way to get that stop will be to take away the ball, giving your offense another possession. The truth is that mathematically, turnovers are probably more important in a low scoring game, because the offense will have less of an opportunity to make up for its own turnover. But if the only way to get a stop is through a turnover, that could be really important.

As much as I love Nicks, Dez Bryant is just a freak of an athlete. With Miles Austin back, who is also a  dangerous player, if the Giants pay too much attention to them on the outside and give S help on both, the middle will be open for Witten. Giants will need a big game from the LBs - Blackburn, Boley and especially Williams in defending the TEs and the middle of the field to keep up with the Cowboys offense. Giants don't need to completely shut down the Cowboys running game, but they do need to slow it down so they get Romo in some 3rd and long plays and hope they can beat him with a pass rush. Not easy to do. Giants should go to school on what the Cardinals did to slow down the Cowboys last week.

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