With the New York Giants facing the Dallas Cowboys in a win-or-go-home scenario Sunday night at MetLife Stadium I turned to Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys for some thoughts on this week's big game. The results of our Q&A are after the jump.Big Blue View: I wrote this week that Sunday night's game is really unpredictable because both of these teams have been so up-and-down all year that it's impossible to know what we get Sunday from either team. Agree or disagree with that?
Blogging The Boys: Totally agree with that. This game feels strange to me because I don't have a notion one way or the other about the Cowboys chances. I'd say this is about as close to an even proposition as you can get. The fact that it's being played for the NFC East title and the playoffs heightens the sense of anticipation, but for the life of me I can't say either team has the advantage going in. Both teams can look really good, especially on offense, but both teams have flaws. The Cowboys defense is statistically better, but it has blown some big leads this year, as I'm sure you guys remember! So, basically, this is a pick 'em game that will probably come down to someone making a huge play late in the game.
Big Blue View: How different is the Dallas offense without DeMarco Murray?
Blogging The Boys: Not that much. The Cowboys running game was struggling before Murray took over when Felix Jones got injured, and for the first few games Murray was unstoppable. He leveled off some but was still a very dangerous component of the offense - we love what he brings to the table and can't wait to get him back next year. But in the couple of games Felix has started in his absence, he's looked like a re-energized back, not only using his speed and moves, but finishing runs by driving the pile and running tough between the tackles. In the two games where he played for Murray (he basically sat out the Philly game), he's gone over 100 yards each time and averaged around 5.6 yards per carry. We'd definitely love to have Murray back, but Jones has been a very effective back when healthy, and has looked very good the past couple of games he played.
Big Blue View: What is your take on Jerry Jones going down to the sideline to speak with Jason Garrett during last Sunday's game? No matter what his purpose was, from the outside that looked bad.
Blogging The Boys: That's just it - from the outside it might have looked bad, but from the inside it just looks like Jerry being Jerry. You have to understand, as Cowboys fans we are so used to this behavior that it hardly raises an eyebrow. Jerry has been this way since he bought the team, and will always be this way until he's too old to actually make it to the sideline. No coach takes over in Dallas without the knowledge that Jerry is going to be intimately involved in decisions, that's just how it works here, for better or worse. In this particular case, I don't think Jerry bringing the update on Tony Romo's hand-injury and the news that the Giants won to Jason Garrett really affected things. I'm 99% sure Garrett was going to sit Romo (post-injury) and Jones anyway once he knew that the Giants had won and that the Eagles game was meaningless.
Big Blue View: Speaking of Garrett, is he safe or is there a chance he gets fired if Dallas loses Sunday night?
Blogging The Boys: I don't think there is any scenario where Jason Garrett gets fired for losing this Sunday. I really, truly believe that this is a media-invention and that Jerry Jones isn't entertaining the idea at all. Garrett has done a very good job of resurrecting the Cowboys after the major crash at the end of the Wade Phillips era. He's re-making parts of the team on-the-field, like the offensive line, and he's done a great job of changing the attitude of the players. He still has things to learn on game day, he's made some high-profile mistakes in terms of clock-management, and is still getting a feel for game day strategy and adjustments. But overall, he's been a solid coach who has huge potential after he gets more experience. Jerry would be a fool to give up on him at this point, especially since he's won more games than he's lost as the head coach.
Big Blue View: I won't ask for a prediction. I have to believe you think Dallas wins. So, let me ask you to complete this thought. Dallas wins because ...
Blogging The Boys: Tony Romo plays an efficient game with minimal mistakes, the Cowboys offense does a credible job of running the ball to prevent the Giants from teeing-off on Romo, and the Cowboys defense gets a couple of turnovers. That's the formula - easy to say but much harder to execute. Looking forward to Sunday night!