When I look at the Dallas Cowboys on tape, I wonder how they can be 1-4. They have simply incredible talent at the offensive skill positions. But the offensive line has played inconsistently and their problems start there. Their tackles, Doug Free and Marc Colombo, have trouble with edge speed-rushers and that's what they'll face in the New York Giants' rotation of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. That's the matchup to watch as the game begins.
Quarterback Tony Romo also has struggled. In Week 6 against the Vikings, he could not get the ball downfield. Of his 32 pass attempts, 18 went behind the line of scrimmage. He'd look downfield but often went wide and short instead of long. He clearly missed a few plays, as I saw a few chances to jam in a throw that he did not take. This conservative play might be the result of playing tight and pressing to make things happen while fearing making a big mistake. But with all that talent, I can't imagine this offense will stay down all season.
But the Cowboys picked a tough week to try to get back on track. I think the Giants are playing defense as well as their recent Super Bowl team did, just flying around and making plays.
The nine-man defensive line rotation has been instrumental in keeping players fresh, as has their smart mix of different stunts and rushes. But the key has been their secondary, especially at safety.
Deon Grant, Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle have been playing great so far. All three will often be on the field at the same time when they move Grant down to play weakside linebacker. It gets speed on the field and the results have been there. The Giants have allowed only 10 receptions of 20 or more yards this season, second fewest in the league. They are also allowing a mere 4.3 yards per pass play. CB Corey Webster is also having a great year. He has been targeted 25 times so far but has given up only nine receptions.
This Cowboys team will eventually start playing up to its talent level. But the Giants are already playing that way and will be a significant test for the Cowboys, even at home.