New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys: What to Watch For


Football is back! There’s nothing else that needs to be said then that. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest factors in the game. The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Met Life Stadium to take on the New York Giants.

Coverage will be on NBC at 8:30

Injury Report:

Dallas Cowboys

Out: Matt Johnson, Jay Ratliff

Doubtful: Jason Witten, Danny McCray

Questionable:  Andre Holmes, Mike Jenkins, Kyle Wilber


Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Dan Connor, Phil Costa, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner, Demarcus Ware

New York Giants

Out: Prince Amukamara, James Brewer, Marvin Austin


Will Beatty, Mathias Kiwanuka, Jayron Hosley, Hakeem Nicks, Da’rel Scott, Adrian Tracy


Ahmad Bradshaw

New York Giants-

Giants Special Teams Return Men-

Maybe not the battle that has been the most highlighted during the preseason previews, but it’s one that could have a huge impact on the season, and one of the only questions remaining about the Giants heading into the season. The Giants have not had good return teams in the past, but now have dynamic players vying for the job. The team has yet to decide (or let the public know) who will return the punts and kickoffs, but the potential for a dynamic return team is there. David Wilson was impressive as a kick returner in the preseason, will the Giants let him do that in the season? Da’rel Scott has rare speed. Jerel Jernigan is also shifty and explosive. The punt return job is still up for grabs will it be Jerel Jernigan who has struggled to catch the football, Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon, or Jayron Hosley?

David Baas, Kevin Boothe, Chris Snee

The whole offensive line is a question mark for the New York Giants, but the interior of the offensive line was a huge problem for the Giants last season. David Baas struggled with his transition from the 49ers to the Giants, Chris Snee had one of his worst seasons in a long time. According to Snee registered a -19.2 overall ranking for the season after compiling a 2.6 in 2010 season, and a 26.2 in 2009. Can Snee bounce back this season? Kevin Boothe has been a depth player and spot starter for the Giants, can he be consistent for a 16 game schedule?

David Wilson and the new dimension to the run game

David Wilson offers the potential for a new dynamic for the running game. Last year the Giants did not produce a lot of big plays, which Wilson clearly has the ability for, but what I’ll be watching more closely is what kind of different plays the Giants might design for Wilson to get him into space. The Giants offensive line is not great, and they might have to get creative.

The #3 WR Spot-

Who will be the #3 WR for the New York Giants? Coach Kevin Gilbride has said that Hixon is the # 3 receiver “for now.”

How long can he hold off Rueben Randle and Ramses Barden. Hixon is a reliable veteran, which Eli Manning might find comfort in, but lacks the physical abilities of Randle and Barden. The Giants want to find a reliable option to play opposite of Hakeem Nicks on the outside so that Victor Cruz can play inside in three wide receiver sets.

The impact of Keith Rivers on the 3 Safety Defense?

The New York Giants have relied heavily on a three safety defense under Perry Fewell, however, it is very possible that the Giants will transition to a more traditional linebacker set. Keith Rivers has been impressive in preseason with his raw ability. The Giants also have athletic rangy linebackers like Jacquian Williams, Michael Boley, and Spencer Paysinger who are all plus in pass coverage. Will the Giants move to a more traditional base defense and will that help improve their run defense.

These are the things I will focus on with the New York Giants.

For the Dallas Cowboys

Who is the #3 WR

Among Giants fans, Eli Manning has gained a reputation for turning anyone on the roster into a reliable #3 WR option. Last year Tony Romo and Laurent Robinson had good chemistry and produced good numbers. Robinson is gone now, who will step up in the #3 WR role? The Cowboys are dangerous with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, but both players are a bit injury prone and the Cowboys will not maximize their offensive potential without a reliable #3 option. Can Romo work more magic?

The continued development of Sean Lissemore

One player who has stood out for me on the Dallas Cowboys is young defensive line Sean Lissemore. Watch him in this game. He should play a lot with the injury to Jay Ratliff.

How much will Morris Claiborne get picked on and will he rise to the challenge?

Mo’ Claiborne is very, very talented. He is also, however facing a big test in his first N.F.L. game. Rookie cornerbacks don’t often step right into the mix and play extremely well. Claiborne has been struggling to get onto the field because of some nagging injury issues. He’ll have to be well coached up because the Giants will test him and often. The Giants don’t shy away from anyone (go back and watch the Giants/Jets game from last year where Eli Manning continued to challenge Revis despite seeing very little success), and Claiborne will have to make some plays to keep Nicks/Hixon/Cruz at bay.

How does the rest of the secondary look.

Can The Cowboys Block?

Perhaps the biggest question mark with the Cowboys is whether or not they can block anyone. They are not starting the season with the easiest challenge. The Giants can be unblockable at times. Let’s see how well the Cowboys can hold up.

Rob Ryan against himself

Rob Ryan loves to blitz. Eli Manning and the Giants exposed the Cowboys secondary often when they blitzed last year. Will Rob Ryan be able to stay patient, force the Giants to check down and keep the Giants from racking up the yards after the catch on single coverage.

This is what I’ll be looking for in the 2012 NFL season’s first game.

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