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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 30,, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at MIA* HOU at BAL TEN at IND* DEN at KC Mon 9 PM
CIN at PIT JAC at CLE* Sun 4 PM NYJ at NE SEA at PHI
DAL at NYG MIN at DET* ARI at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Dallas 17, NY Giants 21

The big divisional games this week continue. The Giants and Cowboys are tied for the NFC East with a 7-4 record and the Cowboys won an overtime game 16-13 in Dallas back in week six. The most fitting thing here would be for this game to end as a tie after overtime since both squads dropped overtime games last week. This game alone won't decide the division but a win by the Cowboys gives them a tie breaker.

Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
1 28-24 @SDC 10 21-20 @PHI
2 13-14 WAS 11 20-7 DET
3 34-31 @SFO 12 21-24 DEN
4 13-19 @OAK 13 Dec 4 @NYG
5 33-10 PHI 14 Dec 11 KCC
6 16-13 NYG 15 Dec 18 @WAS
7 10-13 @SEA 16 Dec 24 @CAR
8 34-13 ARI 17 Jan 1 STL
9 Open Bye M THU SAT
DAL at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 270,2
RB Julius Jones 60 10 0
RB Marion Barber 30 20 0
TE Jason Witten 0 50 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 80,1 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 70,1 0
WR Peerless Price 0 20 0
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Dallas has been preparing for this match-up since last Friday but they are only 3-2 on the road and none of the away game wins have been by more than four points. Dallas enters the game more healthy than in recent weeks but they face the third highest scoring team in the NFL.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe has thrown for a score in all but one game this season but he had not topped that one touchdown since week five until last Thursday when he threw for 232 yards and two scores against Denver. The Cowboys passing attack seemed to have reached a peak when Bledsoe threw for 312 yards and one score against the Giants earlier this season. Since that game he has never had more than 232 yards and has just five scores over the last five games.

Running Backs: Julius Jones is back to health and taking a more primary role once again. He ran for only 55 yards on 20 carries against the stout Denver defense but Marion Barber was limited to only nine runs for 28 yards. More telling too was the use of Barber on three of the four runs inside the ten yard line against the Broncos. Jones already has lost two fumbles this season while Barber has not lost any as of yet. That matters to Bill Parcells, particularly near the goal line.

The Cowboys gained 90 rushing yards against the Giants in week six. It was even split up between Barber, Tyson Thompson and Anthony Thomas.

Wide Receivers: Keyshawn Johnson had his first score in three games when he caught six passes against the Broncos and he was never been over 74 yards in a game this year except when he turned in 120 yards against the Giants back in week six. Terry Glenn continues to be only good for around 40 to 50 yards a game over the last six weeks and had only 64 yards and no score against the Giants earlier this season. Glenn only has one score in the last six games.

Tight Ends: When the Cowboys face tougher defenses, Jason Witten always matters more and he had a team high nine catches for 82 yards and a score last week. He also had 56 yards and a touchdown against the visiting Giants this year.

Match Against the Defense: On the road, these Cowboys have not fared nearly so well on offense and have lost two of their last three away games. The Giants rushing defense has been outstanding at home this year and already held the Cowboys to under 100 yards back in week six. Look for Jones to continue to be the primary back but anything over about 60 yards will be surprising, especially since he shares with Barber. The Giants have only allowed two rushing scores to visitors this season.

Bledsoe was successful passing against the Giants in week six but since that game opponents have not fared so well against the Giants secondary. This game could produce some nice passing yardage since the Giants are going to score well and force the Cowboys to the air. It may be a furious air war or it may end up as trash time, but the Cowboys will have to move the ball primarily via the pass that will benefit Bledsoe's numbers this week.

New York Giants (7-4)
1 42-19 ARI 10 21-24 MIN
2 27-10 @NOR 11 27-17 PHI
3 23-45 @SDC 12 21-24 @SEA
4 44-24 STL 13 Dec 4 DAL
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @PHI
6 13-16 @DAL 15 Dec 17 KCC
7 24-23 DEN 16 Dec 24 @WAS
8 36-0 WAS 17 Dec 31 @OAK
9 24-6 @SFO . . SAT
NYG vs DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 230,2
RB Tiki Barber 90,1 20 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 80,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 40 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 70,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 10 0
PK Jay Feeley 0 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants have dropped two games in painful fashion lately with the Vikings winning without offense and the Seahawks showing how important a kicker can be. Those two losses in the last three games makes this week a must win and the Giants at home have beaten all visitors other than in the freak Vikings game, including beating Denver which Dallas was unable to do last week. The Giants were barely clipped in overtime in Dallas in week six and have scored at least 21 points in all other games this season.

Quarterback: Eli Manning only had 215 yards and one score against the Cowboys in week six but he has scored in every game played this season. His best games have always been on the road because the rushing game has normally only worked when at home though last week was the rare exception.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber had 151 rushing yards last week but that was primarily thanks to long runs (that did not matter as it ended up). Otherwise, Barber only excels when he is at home. His other three games over 100 rushing yards all came at home and all seven touchdowns were scored in New York - none in away games.

Barber only gained 64 yards on 14 carries in Dallas this year.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress was held to 55 yards and a fumble while Amani Toomer only gained 11 yards in Dallas earlier this season. Those were both among the worst games this year by either wideout and Burress comes off two consecutive 100+ yard games. Toomer has scored in each of the last three match-ups so that ambushing in Dallas was hardly indicative of what these wideouts typically can do. And even then - the game went into overtime.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey has been beaten up as the season progresses but he's obviously back to health after logging 127 yards and one score last week. That was not even his best effort either, since Shockey had a monster game against the Cowboys in week six, gaining 129 yards and one score. If anyone will challenge Gates for the best tight end in the NFL this year, it will be Shockey.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants struggled offensively in the previous meeting in Dallas but there's always been a big difference between the home and road version of this offense. Barber always shines at home and though Dallas has only allowed one runner to top 100 yards this year, Barber should challenge that if not exceed it with receiving yardage included.

Manning likely won't have a big game here against a generally good Dallas secondary and the Giants rarely pass much at home because the defense and rushing game have always been enough to win games. Look for only a moderate game here from Manning who is required to throw at least one scoring pass that should strongly favor Shockey once again. Burress gets the better match-up than Toomer who draws Terrence Newman but Shockey has just been the most consistent target for Manning and tight ends have fared better against the Cowboys.