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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket

Sunday night

Prediction: NYG 24, DAL 27

Two long-time rivals meet under new circumstances. The Giants show up without Tiki "I can't stop talking" Barber and an entirely new flavor to their offense. The Cowboys have all the same players, yet another year older, but the coaching staff has changed. Playing in Texas Stadium favors the Cowboys but these two teams always have a way to make the game interesting.

These divisional rivals traded road wins in 2006. The Cowboys won 23-20 in New York during week 13 and the Giants won 36-22 in Dallas during week 7 of last year.

New York Giants (8-8)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @DAL   +5.5 44
2 GB 16-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
3 @WAS 23-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
4 PHI 30-Sep SUN 8:15 PM
5 NYJ 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @ATL 15-Oct MON 8:30 PM
7 SF 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @MIA 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 BYE - - -
10 DAL 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @DET 18-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
12 MIN 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @CHI 2-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
14 @PHI 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 WAS 16-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
16 @BUF 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NE 29-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
NYG at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning     240,2
RB Brandon Jacobs 60,1 10  
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 20 30  
TE Jeremy Shockey   60,1  
WR Plaxico Burress   80,1  
WR Amani Toomer   30  
WR Steve Smith   20  
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 2 XP 5 Pts
Pregame Notes: The Giants ended just 8-8 last year and dissension in the ranks is more the norm than an exception. Barber's new book points a finger at Tom Coughlin (no need to say which finger either) as the reason for Tiki's retirement but the team returns every one else on the offensive side, including an interesting rookie wideout in Steve Smith and Reuben Droughns just in case the Jacobs experiment goes awry.

Quarterback: Eli Manning hasn't gone downhill as many would believe. While he did fall from 3762 to 3244 yards last year he still posted the same 24 touchdowns. The problem with Manning is that he consistently has a late season slide. Starts out hot and then cools. That was worse last year than in 2005 and led to the decline in yardage. The Giants are using a new scheme this year with OC Kevin Gilbride running it and the early word is that the players like it and Manning is looking good. But until mid-season comes and goes, we cannot know if Manning really has - or can - take that next step.

Manning threw for 189 and 270 yards against the Cowboys last year with two scores in each game.

Running Backs: Now that Barber is gone, the load falls onto the very big shoulders of Brandon Jacobs - the anti-Tiki. Jacobs should prove to be the bruising runner that Coughlin loves to have but the real question is if he can carry the load without living in an oxygen tent between series. Jacobs has never had more than 11 carries in any game - his conditioning and endurance is what remains to be seen. Reuben Droughns is there to help out as is the rookie Ahmad Bradshaw who impressed in preseason play and could become a nice third down addition to the team. Going against the Cowboys on the road will be a good first test for this unit and help determine just how well Jacobs can be the primary back and how much help he is going to need.

Wide Receivers: The receiving crew looks upgrade this year (like we think each year) with Plaxico Burress returning from back spasms to practice and play this week, Amani Toomer looking spry in camp and rookie Steve Smith playing like he wants Toomer's job now. Sinorice Moss still hangs on as a speedy guy who cannot remain healthy but this unit could be a strength that will be needed more if Barber's absence is not compensated by Jacobs and Bradshaw.

Burress scored in both meetings with the Cowboys last year and had 94 and 43 yards in those games.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey is consistently around 650 yards and seven scores per year but that could see an increase in 2007 with Shockey losing weight and focusing on being less a hothead and more a player this year. He's looked better in camp and has vowed to make this his best season ever.

Shockey scored in both games against the Cowboys and had 23 and 65 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys fully intend on being more aggressive on defense this year with blitzes and the shakiness of the Giants line means Manning better get rid of the ball fast or risk a sack. The Cowboys at home should keep Jacobs to moderate yardage this week though anything close to the goal line is six points for Jacobs.

Where this game will be fought is with the wideouts going against at least a hobbled Terance Newman if not a replacement corner and that is a definite edge for Toomer or Steve Smith if they shift around. Burress already has been successful on the left side with scores in both match-ups last year and the Cowboys investment in safeties won't likely matter on the sidelines where Burress can make gains. This is a better defense and will harass Manning if he holds the ball too long. That means shorter passes which will favor Shockey and Burress who have both hurt the Cowboys in the past.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 20 7 17 11 17 21
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 31 12 24 27 14 21
rankings reflect as of week 17, 2006


Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
Homefield: Texas Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYG   -5.5 44
2 @MIA 16-Sep SUN 4:05 PM
3 @CHI 23-Sep SUN 8:15 PM
4 STL 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 @BUF 8-Oct MON 8:30 PM
6 NE 14-Oct SUN 4:15 PM
7 MIN 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 @PHI 4-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
10 @NYG 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 WAS 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 NYJ 22-Nov THU 4:15 PM
13 GB 29-Nov THU 8:15 PM
14 @DET 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 PHI 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 @CAR 22-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
17 @WAS 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DAL vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo     240,2
RB Julius Jones 50    
RB Marion Barber 40,1 30  
TE Jason Witten   40,1  
WR Terrell Owens   100,1  
WR Patrick Crayton   60  
WR Sam Hurd   10  
PK Nick Folk 2 FG 3 XP 9 Pts

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys offseason went by with remarkable little event considering that Bill Parcels retired but with Terrell Owens still happy and quiet and no real changes to the personnel on the team, the Cowboys haven't been newsworthy for once. Wade Phillips was brought in for one reason - make that 3-4 defense more aggressive and get more sacks. Jason Garrett signed on as offensive coordinator but speculation has it that Garrett is only the OC for now. After a few years, Phillips steps aside and Garrett becomes the new head coach of the Cowboys.

Quarterback: Tony Romo has a lot to prove this year - and not just if he can hold for a field goal which he no longer will do. Romo is in the final year of his contract and he's the starter this year because he played so well - at least at first. He doesn't have that new contract because he did not play well all the time. With Owens there Romo has the talent around him, but he has to put together a solid year before the Cowboys will reward him financially.

Romo threw for 227 and 257 yards against the Giants last season. While he had two scores in the home game, he threw three interceptions and had two more picks in the second meeting with no scores.

Running Backs: This should be an interesting year in the backfield for Dallas. Julius Jones is still the starter despite what the guy next to you in your draft said. And Jones is in his final contract year and needs to make some noise to re-up with Dallas or get paid elsewhere. Jones finally lasted all 16 games last year when he topped the thousand yard mark for the first time. But he only had four touchdowns and that may not change.

Marion Barber became the goal line master and his 14 rushing scores were 3rd best in the league last year. He also scored twice via a pass and averaged a healthy 4.8 yards per carry despite being used in short yardage. And he is also the #2 in this offense - or at least the 1B. The offensive scheme is changing more back to the Cowboys of the 90's but even Phillips has reiterated that he liked using both again this year. Short of an outright flop or an injury, it'll just be more of last year here.

Jones never gained more than 30 rushing yards against the Giants last year but Barber gained 76 yards and scored once in the week 13 meeting in New York.

Wide Receivers: Terrell Owens returns for his second season in Dallas and contrary to expectations, he has not become a problem (at least not yet). Romo knows where to throw the ball and was a big boost for Owens after Drew Bledsoe was benched. Terry Glenn also returns but is likely to miss this game and be replaced by Patrick Crayton. I will update as warranted. While Owens and Glenn have the big names, Crayton is an interesting one here since he plays the slot or fills in for either of the two aging veteran starters.

Owens had 98 and 84 yards against the Giants last year with one score at home. Glenn never had more than 52 yards and never scored.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten's stock has gone a little higher with Garrett rejoining the team since that is speculated to use the tight end more but even a return to the same offense that had Jay Novacek likely won't cause any greater use of Witten. even Novacek rarely had more than 600 yards or four scores per year.

Witten had big games in both meeting with the Giants last season, gaining 72 and 73 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Giants secondary was among the worst last year and the Cowboys want to start out with a bang in front of the home crowd with a new head coach. Look for solid rushing numbers here from Barber and Jones with the obligatory score by Barber.

Romo should have a very nice game here against a secondary that had problems with Owens and Witten in the past. Glenn's absence doesn't help, but Crayton should make sure it does not hurt. Expect a couple of passing scores in this game and decent yardage but the Cowboys will want to use the run as much as they can to keep Manning from testing their own cornerbacks.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 5 11 4 14 13 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 32 14 17 25 17 10

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