It’s only Week 7, but the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are set to meet for the final time in the 2015 regular season. New York hosts Dallas on Sunday, looking for revenge from their Week 1 loss.
The Cowboys made a late comeback in the season opener to beat the Giants by one point, but they haven’t had much to celebrate since. They’re on a three-game losing streak, most recently getting blown out at home by the New England Patriots in Week 5. New York was just blown out in Philadelphia on Monday night, ending their three-game winning streak.
Las vegas oddsmakers expect it to be another close contest, making the Giants 3.5-point favorites, according to vegasinsider.com. The over/under is 45.5 points.
Changes on Offense
Since Tony Romo injured his collarbone, Dallas’ offense has not been good enough to win them any games. Brandon Weeden went 0-3 as the starter, forcing head coach Jason Garrett to make a change. The Cowboys didn’t score a touchdown in their last game.
Matt Cassel takes over for Weeden, technically making his second start of the year. He took the opening snap of the season for the Buffalo Bills, but he didn’t attempt a pass and will see his first real action of 2015 on Sunday. Cassel was benched after three starts with the Minnesota Vikings last season, completing 57.7 percent of his passes for 425 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. He went 4-13 as a starter from 2012-2014, but it became clear over the course of three weeks that Weeden wasn’t the answer.
Dez Bryant hasn’t played since he injured his foot against the Giants in Week 1, but Jerry Jones won’t rule out the wide receiver making his return on Sunday. Bryant caught five passes for 48 yards against New York six weeks ago.
Struggling Cowboys Defense
It’s been difficult for Dallas to win without Romo and Bryant, but their defense hasn’t done them any favors. Eli Manning and the Giants' offense could be poised for a bounce back performance on Sunday.
In the two games that Romo started, the Cowboys allowed 18 points per game. Since then, Dallas has surrendered nearly 32 points per contest. The Cowboys showed some good signs against New England, sacking Tom Brady five times. But they ended up allowing 30 points in a 24-point loss.
New York is coming off their worst offensive performance of the season, by far. They only scored seven points in Philadelphia, even though the Eagles committed four turnovers. Both teams played a very sloppy game, and the Giants should rebound. Eli Manning had a 114.3 passer rating against Dallas last season.
Pivotal Division Game
Even though the Giants are tied for first place and the two teams are only separated by a half-game in the standings, Sunday’s contest will go a long way in determining the NFC East winner.
Losing to New York would put the Cowboys in a tough spot. They have been unable to tread water without Romo, and a loss would put them 1.5 games out of first place. With games against the Seahawks and Eagles coming up, Dallas needs a win on Sunday afternoon.
The Giants have already lost two important divisional games, and they might not be able to survive a third loss. Losing on Sunday would put them at 0-3 against Dallas and Philadelphia, who are their main competition for first place. New York had a 10-point lead over Dallas in the season opener, but a series of costly mistakes allowed Dallas to come back and win in the final seconds.
The Cowboys have lost every game without Romo by at least six points, and Sunday should be no different. New York won three games in a row before their dismal performance on Monday night, and their offense should play much better against Dallas. Cassel isn’t much of an upgrade over Weeden, and Dallas is quickly falling out of the NFC East race.
New York over Dallas, 31-20