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3 Keys to a Giants' victory against the Cowboys

Posted Sep 7, 2017

Giants.com highlights three keys for the Giants to get a "W" on Sunday night: 


The New York Giants swept the 2016 season series against the Cowboys, bringing their winning streak to three games against their NFC East rival. The last time the Giants fell to the Cowboys was Sept. 13, 2015.

Here are three ways Big Blue can keep its streak going Sunday night in Dallas:

PROTECT THE DUKE

A lot of things can be chalked up to vanilla schemes and starters not playing all the way through in the preseason, but there’s one thing coaches can never get over: turnovers. Taking care of the football is always a point of emphasis for McAdoo, and the Giants turned the ball over seven times in four preseason games. Meanwhile, McAdoo called the Cowboys “probably the best team in the league in stripping the football” after opponents fumbled 28 times against them in 2016, the second-most in the NFL (Dallas recovered 11 of them).

PERK UP

It wasn’t Seattle. It wasn’t Carolina. It wasn’t even Big Blue. If you asked someone to name the best run defense in the league last season, how many guesses would it take before getting to Dallas? The Cowboys allowed a league-low 83.5 yards per game on the ground, and while a lot of that has to do with their clock-killing offense, the Giants have a revamped rushing attack to unveil this year. In addition to Paul Perkins getting the starting job, the Giants also brought in Rhett Ellison and Shane Smith to add more physicality to the effort.

Conversely, the Giants’ No. 1 priority on defense – and perhaps overall -- is to stop Ezekiel Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing champion. As a rookie, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft ran for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. In two games against the Giants, though, he ran 44 times for 158 yards (3.6-yard average) and a touchdown.

“Stopping the run is top of the list for each and every team we play against,” said All-Pro safety Landon Collins, who has led the team in tackles in each of his first two years in the league. “So that’s big and [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] drives us on it each and every week. If some team gets over a certain amount of yardage and we allowed it, man, we can’t stand to hear his voice, so that’s our biggest and most important goal from the get-go.”

LIMIT BIG PLAYS

Despite allowing a league-low 26 touchdowns last year, the Giants gave up some chunk plays, particularly in the passing game. They allowed 59 passing plays of at least 20 yards, tied with San Francisco for the second-most in the league. The No. 1 red-zone defense covered up those blemishes, but that’s the next step players want to make on a defense that didn’t have many weaknesses coming back.