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Keys to Victory vs. Cowboys


1) Handle the emotion – The Giants are in the position that every team wants to be – setting out to defend a championship in primetime while hosting a division rival. From pregame ceremonies celebrating the Giants' Super Bowls to the pageantry of Kickoff Weekend, there's no time to rest on laurels of last year. Get that first hit in, and start defining 2012.

2) Corral RB DeMarco Murray – The Giants have gotten to know Tony Romo and his weapons well over the years, and that part of the game will play itself out. But what they don't know as well, though, is Murray. The then-rookie standout had five carries for 25 yards before he broke his ankle in the first half of their first meeting and missed the rest of the year. Now healthy, Murray will require a full team effort from the Giants in order to be contained.

3) Test the Dallas O-Line – The Giants defensive line does this every week, but it rings especially true when the opposing offense has just one lineman playing the same position as last year. And that's the center, Phil Costa. Their limited reps together will be fair game for the Giants' defensive ends.

4) Handle the defensive pressure – At least against the Giants, the Cowboys' defense is a pressure unit. On an offensive line that came under fire due to the run game, pass protection was a relative strength for the unit. Eli Manning says his best football is still to come. Keep him upright again so you can find out. That applies to the tight ends and running backs as well.

5) Lay the groundwork – The Giants aren't going to be building any bridges if they can't run the ball again this season. The Giants are tired of hearing the stat that they were the only Super Bowl champion to finish last in rushing in the regular season. While they would take the same outcome if it meant another championship, why go down that road? Rookie running back David Wilson adds an explosive element to the run game, while a tough and healthy Ahmad Bradshaw looks for a good start.

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