The Dallas Cowboys are on an impressive 11 game winning streak, but in order to continue that winning streak they will have to go on the road and beat the only team that has beaten them this season, the New York Giants.
When these two teams square off against one another you can almost guarantee that it will be a hard-fought game that comes down to the very end. That is exactly what I expect Sunday afternoon.
Fortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers may have just provided the perfect blueprint for the Cowboys to beat the Giants and expand their lead over the NFC East division.
Now, the Cowboys don’t really have much to play for since they have already locked up a spot in the playoffs, but if they want home-field advantage, they need to continue to win games.
Below are the five things I think the Dallas Cowboys could’ve possibly learned from the matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants last weekend
Lean on Ezekiel Elliott
Okay, this maybe a little obvious, but if the Dallas Cowboys learned anything watching what the Steelers were able to do on the ground and through the air with Le’Veon Bell, then they would be wise to follow suit with Ezekiel Elliott.
Le’Veon Bell was a huge thorn in the side of the New York Giants defense the entire game. He rushed for 118 yards on the ground and added another 64 yards through the air.
The Cowboys have been somewhat reluctant to use Elliott in the receiving game so far in 2016, but this would be a good game to use that part of his repertoire. He’s already had several big plays catching the ball out of the backfield and we all know he is a threat to take it to the house anytime the ball is in his hands.
Now, this may not happen because the Cowboys have more weapons on the offensive side of the ball than the Steelers do. But, any time you give Ezekiel Elliott the opportunity to make a play, good things usually follow.
I fully expect Ezekiel Elliott to have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
Target the Tight end
The defense for the Giants did a pretty good job of containing Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steelers wide receivers, but failed to remember about the tight end position.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green caught six passes for 110 yards and one touchdown against the Giants Sunday afternoon.
Jason Witten might not be as big as a receiving threat as Green at this point in his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find the same type of success. Witten still has a veterans saviness to his game and knows how to get separation from whoever is trying to cover him.
The Giants secondary can’t cover everybody. With threats like Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley, that could leave a lot of opportunities for Dak Prescott to hook up with Jason Witten.
Make Eli Manning uncomfortable
We all know that Eli Manning struggles was when he has pressure in his face and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was able to do just that.
Now, the Dallas Cowboys defensive front has struggled nearly in the entire season getting QB sacks, but have been able to be somewhat successful applying pressure.
The best way to throw Manning off his game is to collapse the pocket around him. That’s usually when he makes a mistake in the passing game. And any time you can create more opportunities for the Cowboys offense by getting the Giants off the field, is a good thing.
Ereck Flowers particularly had a tough game, and I would expect defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to attack him early and often to try make Eli Manning as uncomfortable as possible.
Stop the Giants running game
The Pittsburgh Steelers pretty much made the Giants offense one-dimensional by stopping the running game.
Rookie running back Paul Perkins was the leading rusher for the Giants, but only managed 38 yards on seven carries.
The Dallas Cowboys have been pretty good about containing opposing rushers in 2016. I’m pretty sure they have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher this season and let’s just hope that streak continues this week.
The more one-dimensional the Cowboys can make the Giants offense, the easier it is to keep Eli Manning and the Giants wide receivers from taking over the game.
Contain Odell Beckham Jr.
I would’ve predicted that Odell Beckham Jr. would’ve had a huge game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that really wasn’t the case Sunday afternoon.
Now, Beckham did finished the game with 10 catches for 100 yards, but the Steelers secondary did a really good job of making things as difficult as possible the entire game. To say that that frustrated Beckham would be an understatement.
Back in the season opener, the Cowboys secondary limited Beckham to just four catches for 73 yards, but that was with Morris Claiborne in the lineup.
The Cowboys defense simply can’t allow Beckham to take over the game if they want a chance of continuing their winning streak.
I expect the secondary for the Cowboys to be physical and make Beckham work for every catch he gets, much like the Steelers secondary.
What do you think the Dallas Cowboys learned from the Steelers/Giants game?
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