The New York Giants did their part last week by beating the New York Jets in a mild upset, setting up this winner-take-all season ending pseudo playoff game vs. the Dallas Cowboys, with the winner winning the NFC East and the loser being eliminated from the playoffs.
The Dallas game last week amounted to nothing more than an exhibition game, as the Giants’ win earlier in the day rendered the Dallas game meaningless. Still, since the Giants’ game was still going on when the Dallas game started, Tony Romo did start, and wouldn’t you know it he suffered a contusion in his throwing hand when hitting a defenders helmet before the starters could be pulled from the contest.
1. Why Dallas will cover the spread: Romo is probable for this contest, so assuming that the hand won’t bother him, Dallas will both cover this spread and pull off the outright upset if he can match the same success he had vs. a struggling Giants’ secondary the first time these teams met, when he completed 21-of-31 passes for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, Dallas blew a 12-point lead in the final three minutes of that game, but that was vs. a hot Eli Manning, and he has struggled since.
The Cowboys will also cover this spread if their normally great pass rush can apply more pressure on Manning after not recording a single sack against him in that initial meeting. That was unusual for a Dallas team that ranks fourth in the NFC with 40 sacks, with DeMarcus Ware having 18 of them.
2. Why New York will cover the spread: The Giants will cover the spread if they run the ball a lot better than they did in the first meeting, as that would keep the Dallas offense on the sidelines. The Giants get a major boost in that area as Ahmad Bradshaw was out for that game, and having him back in combination with Brandon Jacobs helps, as the Giants rushed for 115 yards on 26 carries as a team vs. the Jets in their best running game in quite some time last week.
3. Total Talk: While Bradshaw looked the best he has since his return last week, he still rushed for only 54 yards on 15 carries and the Dallas run defense is allowing an acceptable 3.9 yards per rush over the last three weeks. Thus, do not be surprised if this becomes an aerial show like the first meeting. Now Manning passed for 400 yards in that game, but that is just slightly less than he has thrown for in the last two games combined while throwing four interceptions and just one touchdown pass.
Thus, Dallas may welcome lots of Manning throws here, as they could lead to points for either teem. With that in mind, we like the ‘over’ at this posted number, as we do feel it is likely that Romo will match that first effort.
4. Betting Trends for the game: The underdogs are 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these division rivals, and the ‘over’ is 21-8-1 in New York’s last 30 conference games.
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