Giants vs. Cowboys: Scouting the Cowboys

Should you expect a repeat performance for Kevin Ogletree vs the Giants in week 8. - Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

A statistical breakdown of the Dallas Cowboys heading into Sunday's game with the New York Giants.

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions the New York Giants in week 1 of the 2012 season. Since that game the Giants have a record of 5-1, while the Cowboys are 2-3. They appear to be heading in opposite directions, but this is an NFC East division battle and will likely be a close game.

Let's break down the Dallas Cowboys statistically.

Offense

Category Dallas New York
Points per game 18.8 (25th) 29.3 (4th)
Pass yards per game 277.7 (7th) 295.3 (3rd)
Rush yards per game/attempts per game 97.2 (20th)/ 25.3 (19th) 116.3 (12th)/ 26.0 (14th)
Time of possession 32.33 31.01
Sacks allowed 9 6

Here's a stat that Tom Coughlin would love. The Cowboys are -7 in turnover differential, while the New York Giants are +9 in turnover differential.

Tony Romo has more interceptions right now than he has touchdown passes. Romo has eight touchdowns and nine interceptions, but that is slightly misleading because he had five interceptions in one game against the Bears. Still, he has not been as statistically impressive as he has been in his career up to this point.

Running back Demarco Murray will likely miss this game (4.4 yards per attempt), Felix Jones is banged up (4.1 yards per attempt) and Philip Tanner the third running back (2.1 yards per attempt) might see more action.

Dez Bryant leads the team in receptions with 36 and has 378 yards with two touchdowns, but it has been Miles Austin who has really shined this year. Austin has four touchdowns, and is averaging 17.1 yards per reception and leads the team with 248 yards.

Kevin Ogeltree has 248 yards receiving in six games or 26.8 yards per game in games where he didn't play against the Giants.

This team has not been great on offense since the first game of the season, and predictably Kevin Ogletree has done zip since he went off in Week 1.

Defense

Category Dallas NY Giants
PPG 22.2 (14th) 19.6 (9th)
Pass Yards per game 187.3 (3rd) 253.3 (21st)
Yards per rush 4.0 (13th) 5.0 (30th)
Sacks 12 (22nd) 17 (12th)
Interceptions 2 12

A good defense can do two things: limit the oppositions points, or be opportunistic and make big plays. Great defenses will do both (and probably even score some points of their own), but the Giants defense has been very opportunistic under Perry Fewell. Sure they give up big plays, and a lot of yardage, but this is a defense that makes big play after big play.

In 2011 the Giants registered 48 sacks (thirdrd in the league), had 20 interceptions (sixth in the league), and forced and recovered 11 fumbles (seventh).

In 2010, they registered 46 sacks (fifth in the league), lead the league with 23 fumble recoveries, and had 16 interceptions (14th in the league)

This year they are off to another good start with 12 interceptions (second in the league) and their six fumble recoveries are tied for fifth in the league.

This is three years in a row the Giants have been among the league leaders in making big plays on defense. This is not by accident -- this is a trend. You can also go back and look at how the Bills (with much less talent) also forced a lot of turnovers under Fewell as well, for instance in 2009 when they were second in the league with 28 interceptions).

Maybe we should just all re-think what the Giants defensive philosophy might be.

Yes, they can be frustrating, but I'll take all the big plays over the Cowboys defense who are limiting yardage, but doing what else exactly?

The Cowboys 22.2 points per game and two interceptions is not doing anything to help the offense out even if they are not giving up yardage at a great rate.

Sean Lee leads the team in tackles, but is out for the season. He had 26 more tackles than the next guy, Bruce Carter. This is a tremendous loss for the Cowboys.

Demarcus Ware leads the team with 6.5 sacks, which is more than half their total (12).

Sean Lee and Morris Claiborne have he only two Cowboys interceptions.

Special Teams

Dan Bailey has been pretty good this year only missing a fifty yard field goal, but no other field goals.

Felix Jones is averaging 21.5 yards per kick return (not that impressive), and Dez Bryant is averaging 6.5 yards per punt return (also not great) and only has two fair catches and 11 returns. Jones has dangerous speed, but a long of 29, that's pretty brutal. David Wilson is averaging 28.1 yards per return.

For reference Rueben Randle has 8 fair catches and 9 returns. The number suggests that Bryant is not being selective enough on his returns, but don't mistake that for his ability to break a long return (44 yard return).

The numbers say the Cowboys aren't doing well on the score-board. They are putting up a lot of yardage, and limiting opponents yardage, but not scoring enough points and giving up too many points. They have nearly a -4 point differential, but the numbers that matter the most are 24 and 17. The score of the first game. The Giants must play better than week 1 if they want to continue their win streak.

Follow me on twitter @NFLmocks

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