Last week could not have gone any different for the New York Giants (3-3) and Dallas Cowboys (5-1). The two rivals will meet in Week 7 for the first time in 2014, as one tries to right the ship and another looks to prove it is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Week 6 turned into a worst-case scenario for New York. In their visit to Philadelphia, not only did the Giants get shutout by the first-place Eagles, but they also lost their No.1 wide receiver for the rest of the season.
Victor Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon when leaping to grab a pass in the end zone. He joins Rashad Jennings on the sidelines, as the running back will miss a second straight game with an MCL sprain. Cruz leads the Giants with 337 receiving yards, and Jennings is the team’s top rusher with 396 yards on the ground.
Due to the injuries, Eli Manning will have to rely on multiple rookies when the Giants head to Dallas. Running back Andre Williams has carried the ball 52 times for 190 yards in the last three games, while Odell Beckham Jr. caught six passes for 72 yards in the last two games. Beckham will play alongside former LSU teammate Rueben Randle, who has the most catches on the team.
Even surrounded by first-year players, Manning will have a hard time being less productive than his 151-yard night in Philadelphia. The quarterback is looking to bounce-back, after having thrown eight touchdowns and one interception in New York’s three-game winning streak.
If the Giants aren’t competitive against the Cowboys, it could prove that their winning-streak was nothing more than a mirage. New York beat the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons, none of which have a winning record. All of the Giants’ losses have come by double-digits against first-place teams.
The Cowboys are in the midst of a five-game winning streak, and their latest victory has caused many to believe that they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Dallas beat the defending champs in Seattle, giving the Seahawks just their second home loss since the start of the 2012 season.
DeMarco Murray has been the biggest reason for the Cowboys’ success and he could have another big game against the team that let the Eagles run for 203 yards last week. Not only does he lead the league in rushing, but he’s on pace to set the record for most carries in a season.
Murray has been aided by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, but the unit will be without one of its starters for three to four weeks. Right tackle Doug Free has been sidelined with a fracture in his foot.
Free and the rest of the offensive line have done a good job of keeping Tony Romo upright all season long. Fourteen quarterbacks have been sacked more than Romo, who’s thrown for 10 scores and two interceptions during Dallas’ winning streak.
New York usually plays Dallas close, as the teams have split their last six meetings, and none of the Giants’ losses in that time have come by more than seven points. Following New York’s 27-0 loss, the Las Vegas betting line for the NFC East tilt more than doubled, making Dallas 6.5-point favorites. The over/under is 48 total points.
It’s not even halfway through the season, but a loss for the Giants would severely hurt their chances of winning the NFC East. They would fall three games behind the Cowboys and have a 1-2 record in the division.
Prediction: The Giants haven’t proven they can beat a good team, but they should have a chance to defeat the Cowboys. They’ve played well in Dallas in recent seasons, and the Cowboys lost their home opener. Dallas might escape with a victory, but it won’t be easy with a banged up offensive line against a division rival.
Predicted Score: Dallas 28, New York 27