Free NFL Picks: New York Giants at Dallas 10-25-2010

October 24, 2010

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New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Monday October 25th, 2010 8:30 PM EST

Line: Dallas -3 1/2

Overview:

The Dallas Cowboys are easily the most disappointing team thus far in the 2010 season. There was a lot of talk about the Cowboys having home field advantage before the season started, but I suppose that is why they play all the games. As it stands, the 1-4 Cowboys will try to hold down the fort as they face the 4-2 Giants. The Cowboys looked like they were going to get it together after knocking off Houston, but they followed it up with back to back losses, even after a bye week. The Cowboys organization defends Wade Philips and Jerry Jones insists the problem is not a coaching problem. The fact of the matter is, unorganized talent like the Cowboys have doesn’t equate to wins. They are up against it this week, as the 1st place Giants are on a three game tear.

Keys to the Game:

  • Somebody on the Cowboys needs to step up and become the difference. The Cowboys have lost every one of their games by seven or less. They need someone to step up and finish the game. Tony Romo can command the offense for the entire game, but he doesn’t have that John Elway factor to push his team over the edge. Getting out coached in the final minutes is killing the Cowboys. While somebody has stepped up in every single game, nobody has really been a difference maker when it matters the most. The Cowboys have talent all over their roster, but if they don’t want it more than their opponent, they will continue to lose.
  • Osi Umenyiora is on pace to have one of the greatest seasons a defensive lineman has had in the history of the NFL. It is doubtful he will be able to continue to perform the way he has, but you can’t deny his production thus far. In the last three games alone, Umenyiora has forced six fumbles and racked up seven sacks. That is a fantastic season for any defensive lineman and he did it in just three games. The Giants won a Super Bowl on the back of their defensive line. If they can continue to terrorize offenses, the Giants will continue to be a dominating force in the NFC. It is not a coincedence that there is a correlation between wins and defensive line play in New York. The Giants love when they can get a rush with four guys because it lets their linebackers drop into coverage at will. I would put their front four up against and d-line in the game and they are showing America just how dominant they can be.
  • The Giants have to limit the home run threats on the Cowboys. Roy Williams and Miles Austin both have had dominating performances this season. Each one of them has the skill set to be a number one receiver in the NFL. They can turn one defensive slip up into six points in a hurry. It is imperative that the Giants get to Romo in a hurry. Romo has a tendency to get flustered and getting the ball out of his hand early will inhibit plays from developing completely. Unfortunately for the Gaints, the Cowboys also have an up and coming Dez Bryant, who proved he can be a dangerous asset when defenses allow him to slip in the coverage. Jason Witten has posted huge gains against the Giants over his career, but if the Giants get too caught up in shutting down Witten, they are going to open themselves up to the big plays. They can live with Witten moving the chains and having a few big catches. Eventually, the Giants will look to force Tony Romo into making a bad throw down the field. Witten can be a factor for the Cowboys, but he their strength needs to be one of their go to guys on the outside.
  • What defense has allowed the least amount of yards in the NFL? That would be the Dallas Cowboys. A look at the Cowboys defense and you can see how their personnel allows them to be successful against the run and the pass. They give up 180.6 yards a game in the air and 100.8 yards a game on the ground. The strength of the defense is their linebackers. With Demarcus Ware coming off the edge, he is a force to be reckoned with and tough to handle for any offense. He is not only solid against the run, he is his defensive backs’ best friend, because he makes quarterbacks have a quick trigger. Bradie James, Keith Brooking, and Anthony Spencer make up the rest of the Cowboys linebacking corp. What makes them special is their versatility.The Cowboys don’t have to worry about their linebackers being vulnerable in pass coverage and all of them can be effective against the blitz. Dallas is solid at defensive back and their defensive line is above average, but their linebackers are what is going to cause problems for New York.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw is carrying the Giants run game. Brandon Jacobs was supposed to be the feature back going into this season, but when he wavered, the Giants looked to their complimentary back to be the guy. Bradshaw stepped up in a big way and is the third leading rusher in the NFL with 582 yards. The Giants are playing New York Giants football exactly the way they want to. Run the ball effectively to set up the pass and play lights out on defense. Bradshaw is allowing the Giants to be successful and he will look to add to his impressive numbers by finding opportunities against the Cowboys stingy defense.
  • Eli Manning might be overrated according to a recent Sports Illustrated players poll, but the Giants can win with him. Tiki Barber called out Manning when Barber first started as an NFL analyst for his leadership deficiencies. What people need to realize is that Eli Manning will never be, nor has he ever claimed to be, Peyton Manning. Eli is Eli and so far, that has been good enough. The Giants are a run first team by choice. That gives Eli the freedom to get the ball to his targets, who are not exactly big time super star caliber receivers. Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham are all solid receivers and good second or third options, but I wouldn’t call them great. Manning does the best he can with what he has. Ten touchdowns, eight picks, and a solid 86.2 quarterback rating is what the Giants need from Manning to succeed. He doesn’t need to be the best Manning, he just needs to play his game and win games. Tony Romo could benefit from having some Eli Manning characteristics.

Wrap Up:

I thought it was absurd that the Patriots were the underdog, but this one might be even more bizarre. The Cowboys haven’t won at home all season, the Giants are the hottest team in the NFC, and there is a three win discrepancy between the two teams. Monday Night games are typically closer than the average game, but saying the Giants are the underdog is borderline ridiculous. The Cowboys are in disarray. There is nothing to indicate they are going to put it together this week, as they haven’t made any sort of significant changes this entire season. Yes, I think the Cowboys are going to turn it around at some point, but why Vegas thinks it will be this week escapes me. The Cowboys are overrated by nature and odds makers seem to fall for them easily. This is another case of that. Saying the Cowboys are going to win by more than a field goal is getting ahead of yourself. There is no denying the talent, but nothing beats steady production. Dallas is running out of opportunities and excuses. Tom Coughlin and the Giants relish being the underdog. After all, most players on the team have a ring from one of the biggest upsets in sports history.

Free NFL Pick: New York Giants +3 1/2


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