Free NFL Pick: Dallas at New York Giants 11-14-2010

November 13, 2010

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Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

Sunday November 14th, 2010 4:15 PM EST

Line: New York Giants -14

Overview:

The 1-7 Cowboys are encountering turmoil for the first time in a long time. Jerry Jones was forced to fire Wade Phillips and brought in interim head coach Jason Garrett to instill new life to the Cowboys. The New York Giants, on the other hand, are quite possibly the best team in the NFC and maybe in the entire NFL. They have been steam rolling teams with lights out defense and a physical, explosive offense. After winning five in a row, are the Giants bound to destroy the Cowboys by more than fourteen?

Keys to the Game:

  • Jon Kitna completed less than half of his passes last time he faced the Giants. Kitna struggled against both the Jaguars and the Packers. Last week, Clay Matthews took over the game, feasting on Jon Kitna for four quarters. We are likely to see a similar performance from Osi Umenyiora on Sunday. Umenyiora has been somewhat quiet in his last two games, but he still has eight sacks and seven forced fumbles this season. Teams are shifting the protection to Umenyiora’s side, which is helping the other three down linemen come free.
  • The Cowboys need to figure out how to run the ball. They gain a miserable 75.6 yards a game on the ground. Teams have struggled moving the ball in any facet when they face the Giants, so getting something going with the ground game is going to be no easy task. Felix Jones has taken a huge step backwards and Marion Barber has been silent all year long. The Cowboys have to want it. Kitna will likely struggle and they need a big performance from their running backs to remain competitive in this one.
  • The Giants should be able to move the ball at will. Steve Smith is listed as out, but the Giants have two other wide receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham who can get the job done. Nicks has been virtually unstoppable, In his last five games, Nicks has four games of over 100 yards. Manning has a go to receiver and although Smith is out, it should not slow Nicks’ production. Elim Manning is in a zone and it appears he will continue his streak of games with a passer rating over 100.
  • The Cowboys need to get back to being the Cowboys. The locker room can say they want to win, but their performance on the football field says otherwise. They got rid of their head coach -which is a step in the right direction because the players weren’t responding to his laissez faire attitude- but at the seasons end, they need to dump the players who don’t know what it means to be a Dallas Cowboy. If Garrett notices in the film room that he has defensive backs who back off a tackle and allow a touchdown or running backs who refuse to pass block, he needs to start benching people. The season is lost. If he wants to succeed as an interim coach, he needs to make statements.
  • Demarcus Ware has to be the most frustrated man in America. It is clear that at least Ware realizes what it means to be a Cowboy. Ware has eight sacks and a forced fumble this season. He will need to have an outstanding performance in order to slow down Eli Manning on Sunday. It is a shame the Cowboy’s defense doesn’t feed off the production of Ware. He is the lone star on a defense who has failed to keep its opposition under 35 in the last three games. There are other members of the Dallas defense who are having a decent season, but Demarcus Ware is the only one who is irreplaceable.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw is the single most important player on the field when the Giants have the ball. Manning is getting a lot of recognition -deservedly so- but it is because Bradshaw is making teams play the run first and foremost. Manning’s ability to air the ball out combined with Bradshaw’s dominance on the ground makes them a complete offense. Bradshaw has 765 yards this season. The Giants have made him their feature back and at only 24 years old, we probably haven’t seen the best Bradshaw has to offer.

Wrap Up:

The Cowboys aren’t playing for anything, which is scary. Garrett isn’t perceived very well in the locker room, so they aren’t playing for the job of their head coach. The Cowboys aren’t playing for a playoff spot and made it clear when they rolled over and died against Jacksonville at home that they aren’t playing for their fans. It seemed as though with the talent they had, they would run away with the division. The Cowboys got carried away with being Dallas Cowboys. All play and no work has created this monster. They need to find out who is ready to sell out for the good of the franchise and who is more concerned with the glamor of being a Cowboy than winning.

I see the Giants as the best team in the NFL. They have one of the best passing attacks and running games in the NFL. They destroy opposing quarterbacks without having to blitz and the team has playoff experience. They could easily make a run in the NFC. Their game against Seattle let America know they are taking no prisoners. This is a team that loves to see the Cowboys squirm. Although they only won by six in their last game against Dallas, they have gained momentum and Dallas is in complete chaos. I don’t think I have ever seen the Cowboys as such heavy underdogs in my entire life, but it still doesn’t seem like they are going to respond.

Free NFL Pick: New York Giants -14


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