Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackThe Giants played much of the 2012 season as if they were still celebrating their Super Bowl win from the previous season. That’s not going to cut it this season. There’s little doubt that Eli Manning is an elite, big-game quarterback. However, he needs to show he is a consistent regular-season quarterback after throwing 15 interceptions last season.Tony Romo has all the tools needed to be consistently successful. He is smart, athletic, has good arm strength and a quick release. He can make plays on the run, many of which are spectacular. However, he lacks consistency and that’s why the Cowboys have been such a disappointment throughout his career.
- OffenseThe Giants are going to turn over their running game to David Wilson, a second-year running back with explosive speed. If he can run consistently, that will take a lot of pressure off of Manning. Victor Cruz got rewarded with a big contract and he should continue to make big plays. Hakeem Nicks is a solid complementary receiver to Cruz.The Cowboys are counting on DeMarco Murray to give them a credible running game. He’s got the speed and power to do that, but he still has to prove it. Dez Bryant is a remarkable receiver who turned a corner last year with his ability to make tough catches in the clutch. Jason Witten is still a valuable weapon from the tight end position.
- DefenseThe Giants had a lot of problems last year, but the inability of their defense to stop opponents was shocking. Tom Coughlin’s team lost the ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks and the secondary was shockingly bad. The Giants need DE Jason Pierre-Paul to return to form and they have to provide better tackling and coverage overall.The Cowboys have one of the game’s true defensive stars in DeMarcus Ware, who is still a dominating pass rusher and plays the game with a mean streak. DE Anthony Spencer (foot) is also an excellent pass rusher, but he may not be able to play in this game. Sean Lee appears to be a solid tackler at the MLB position.
- Special TeamsThe Giants have turned over the placekicking duties to Josh Brown. He made 11-of-12 FG attempts last year with the Bengals. Steve Weatherford has a booming leg as a punter and he also dropped 22 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Wilson is an explosive weapon as a kickoff returner.After years of struggling with the kicking game, the Cowboys finally found some consistency last year with Dan Bailey, who made 29-of-31 FG attempts. Chris Jones will handle punting duties, but he is an unknown. The Cowboys gave up a key blocked punt for a touchdown last year vs. the Seahawks.
The Giants need to rediscover their defense if they are going to be a contender once again. Manning’s inconsistency in regular-season games is a problem. The Cowboys have to show they can win big games on their home field. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor