After Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, the 4-6 Giants play three of their next four games on the road. December begins with a game at Washington (Dec. 1). Then comes a trip to San Diego (Dec. 8). Two weeks later, the Giants are back on the road to face Detroit (Dec. 22).
The lone home game in this four-game sequence is against NFC-leading Seattle, which has lost just once in 11 games.
In short, the Giants need to win Sunday’s game against Dallas (5-5) for many reasons, and the tough upcoming schedule is one of them.
Here’s our preview of Cowboys-Giants:
Reasons why the Giants can win Sunday against the Cowboys
The Giants should be able to move the ball well against a struggling Dallas defense. The Cowboys are allowing 439.8 yards per game, most in the NFL. The Cowboys are last in passing yards allowed and third-from-last in rushing yards surrendered.
The Giants’ passing offense could be a huge edge for Big Blue. Quarterback Eli Manning threw for 450 yards in the first meeting with Dallas in September.
The Giants’ defense is in strong form — and it held up pretty well against Dallas in the first matchup. The Giants limited the Cowboys to just 4.5 yards per play in Week One. If anything, the Giants’ defense has improved since, with the addition of middle linebacker Jon Beason paying major dividends.
The Giants’ running game is stronger than it was in Week One. Mistakes by and lack of production from the Giants’ running backs in Week One played a major role in Dallas’ 36-31 win. The return of Andre Brown gives the position a steady hand.
Reasons why the Giants could run into trouble against Dallas
The Cowboys had the bye week to regroup after a humbling loss to New Orleans. Oh, did the Cowboys ever need a week off after surrendering 625 yards, 49 points and an NFL-record 40 first downs to the Saints in Week 10. Their banged-up defense also needed the rest. Star defensive end DeMarcus Ware (thigh) is expected back in the lineup Sunday.
The Cowboys’ overall form is deceptively good. Four of the Cowboys’ five losses are teams who would be playoff entrants if the postseason started today: Kansas City, Denver, Detroit and New Orleans. The Cowboys played the Chiefs and Lions to within a point and lost by just three to the Broncos.
The Cowboys have the more productive offense. The Cowboys have scored eight more offensive TDs (27-19) than the Giants.
The Cowboys have the less error-prone quarterback. The Cowboys’ Tony Romo has turned it over just seven times in 10 games. The Giants’ Eli Manning, meanwhile, has 19 turnovers in 10 starts.
The Cowboys could be primed for a strong effort after some time off. However, their defensive deficiencies — already apparent in the first meeting between these teams — are a major problem not solved after one week away.
The Cowboys’ offense will be able to counterpunch enough to make this interesting, and the Giants cannot afford another mistake-filled performance. However, the feeling here is Big Blue won’t give this one away this time.
Predicted score: Giants 31, Cowboys 27