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Keys to victory vs. Cowboys


1) Embrace the rivalry. Tom Coughlin considers the NFC East the toughest division in football and treats every matchup within it like two games in its significance to the postseason hunt. It all starts with the division.

2) Contain Tony Romo. The Dallas quarterback is "slippery" (as defined by Osi Umenyiora) with his ability to extend plays. Romo frustrated the Giants defense in their last meeting by doing so en route to completing 22 of 29 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. His 129.5 passer rating that night is his highest of this season.

3) Limit the big plays on defense. The difference between needing late dramatics and controlling a game for the Giants is their ability to keep everything in front of them on defense. In the first game this season against the Giants, the Cowboys had four players who had plays of 30 yards or longer.

4) Make them one-dimensional. The Cowboys will be without their leading rusher DeMarco Murray once again, while Felix Jones was limited this week and is listed as questionable with his own knee injury. Murray gashed the Giants in Week 1 with 131 yards, including a 48-yarder, while the Cowboys rushed for 143 yards. Take advantage of his absence.

5) Limit the mistakes. The Giants have the second-fewest penalties and penalty yards in the NFL. On the road and in the division is tough enough, and not beating yourself is the first challenge in that atmosphere.

6) Win the field position battle. Games like these can turn at the drop of a dime. Special teams will need to be on point while an explosive return can spark the Giants on the road.

7) Force the issue. Takeaways are there to be had in Dallas. The Cowboys have turned the ball over 13 times in six games with nine interceptions and four fumbles.

8) Don't break. It's not the ideal way to go about it, but the Giants defense has given up 379.7 yards per game (24th in the NFL) but is eighth in points allowed at 19.6. The Cowboys are usually able to get their yards on offense, but the Giants defense just needs to continue to clamp down when it matters most.

9) Win the turnover battle. This is a no-brainer each week, but the Giants both won and almost lost last week due to turnovers. Dallas has a minus-7 turnover ratio this year, while the Giants are one of the best in the NFL with a plus-9.

10) Get off the field on third down. This includes putting bodies on Jason Witten. When Tony Romo is extending plays, he's usually doing so on third down and trying to find his tight end. The perennial Pro Bowler has caught 29 passes for 244 yards in his past three games.


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