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Giants vs. Cowboys: 8 things to watch for

1. A Giant response.


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The Giants' shutout loss last week in Philadelphia went from bad to worse when they lost wide receiver Victor Cruz (torn patellar tendon) and cornerback Trumaine McBride (fractured thumb) for the season due to injuries suffered in the game. The team will try to lift itself back up this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys (5-1) at AT&T Stadium before heading into their Week 8 bye. The numbers are in their favor as the team is 19-6 all-time heading into the break, the second-best mark in the NFL.

2. The injury report.

With starting running back Rashad Jennings (knee) ruled out for the second straight week, the Giants head into Dallas with starting cornerback Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie listed as questionable with back and hamstring issues. If he cannot go, veteran Zack Bowman is the likely candidate to replace him. Meanwhile, starting middle linebacker Jon Beason (toe) is probable after practicing all week. 

3. The Giants' receiver corps.

Cruz's injury led to a bump into the starting lineup for rookie first-rounder Odell Beckham Jr., according to the Giants' latest depth chart. But it will be a collective effort by the group to fill the void left by Cruz, including newcomer Kevin Ogletree, whom the Giants signed this week to bolster the position.

4. Improvements on the offensive line.

The Giants were on their heels for much of the game last week when they allowed eight sacks, which were more than the seven that they allowed in the first five games combined. The Giants, who were playing exceptionally well up front over their three-game winning streak, go as far as their line takes them.

5. Changes in the secondary.

Against Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who has a 100.5 passer rating that is good for fifth in the NFL, the Giants will be all hands on deck in a secondary that has been thinned out since the start of the season because of injuries. That includes third-year pro Jayron Hosley, who expects to see his first significant action this season in McBride's role at nickel corner.

6. Home away from home.

The Giants are 4-1 against the Cowboys in AT&T Stadium since the venue opened in 2009, including a 33-31 victory in the stadium's debut game. Last season, the Giants lost narrowly in Week 1 in Dallas, 36-31.

7. DeMarco Murray's pursuit of history.

The Giants' run defense has a chance to stop Dallas running back DeMarco Murray from becoming the first player in NFL history to start a season with seven straight 100-yard rushing performances. Last week he joined Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1958) as the only players to begin with six.

8. More milestones for Big Blue.

Murray isn't the only one closing in on history this Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Manning and Coughlin are set to start their 158th game together, moving them into a tie with the former Pittsburgh Steelers Hall-of-Fame duo of Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll for the third-highest total by a quarterback/head coach tandem in NFL history. They will trail only New England's Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (198), and Miami's Dan Marino and Don Shula (184). Meanwhile, Manning is three touchdown passes away from surpassing former Giant and Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle for 18th place on the NFL all-time career list.

Get to know the Giants' opponent for their Week 12 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys

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