It's '5 Questions' time again. This week we are, of course, checking in with David from our spectacular Dallas Cowboys blog, Blogging the Boys.
My answers to his questions should also be posted some time today. Stop over there and check that out.
Here is this week's Q&A.
Big Blue View: The first time these teams played the Cowboys scored 45 points. The Giants have played much better in recent weeks. Do you think the Cowboys offense will dominate the Giants again?
Blogging the Boys: No, I don't. I expect it to be a much tougher game this time around and I don't expect either team to score as much as they did in the opening game. It's obvious that the Giants defense has gotten better as the personnel have settled into the new defensive coordinator's schemes. New York's defense was in its infancy in that first game, and Strahan wasn't quite ready, but that defense is now growing up. The Cowboys have also improved greatly on defense since that first game with the return of Terence Newman and Greg Ellis and our personnel settling into Wade Phillips' defensive scheme.
BBV: I've seen people start trying to put the Cowboys on the Colts-Patriots pedestal already. Is that premature, or are you on that bandwagon, too?
BTB: That's premature. We got whipped by New England just a few weeks ago and even though we hung close in the game until the 4th quarter, it was obvious they were on a different level. The Colts are probably also on another level. But, I'm very happy with the progress Dallas has made this year and hopefully by the end of the season we can do something about that loss to New England.
BBV: What is different about this team at this point in the season compared to Week 1? Have any surprising players emerged?
BTB: What's different is the normal things you'd expect with a team that's having a good season. Our defense is improving because they are getting used to the new defensive scheme. The offensive line is playing better and better and that's a result of playing together for a while now and getting continuity. We've also got back the aforementioned Newman and Ellis, so we have almost all our starters back in place. We're still missing Terry Glenn, but Patrick Crayton has done a nice job of filling in. The guy who really stepped up was Jacques Reeves, a forgotten cornerback who has started every game in the absence of Newman and Henry for various injuries. And he's done a pretty solid job, especially in the last few games.
BBV: What concerns you most about the Giants? Do you think they are for real, or from your perspective do you expect them to fade like they did last season?
BTB: I don't expect them to fade because those teams over the last few years were different teams from this one. Two things concern me about the Giants more than anything else. Number one is obviously the pass rush. A good pass rush can produce big plays, from sacks, to fumbles, to interceptions, along with the ordinary play of forcing an incompletion. A good pass rush can cover up a lot of other things. The other thing is the running game, I always feel like you have to get the run stopped or a team can control the game. So that is what scares me.
BBV: Fill in the blank -- really a two-part question. For the Cowboys to win they have to ...? For the Giants to win they have to ...?
BTB: For the Cowboys to win they have to protect Romo, or at least give him enough room to move around and make plays, we can't let the Giants defensive line get off cleanly and start hitting Romo. The other thing I'd like to do is to be able to run the ball because that forces the Giants to respect the run on play-action passes and can really open up the middle of the field. It also takes away from having to face the pass rush. Finally, stop Brandon Jacobs.
For the Giants to win they have to force Romo to make mistakes and turn the ball over. They can't let him run around and extend plays because that is when he can really burn a defense. And the Giants have to get control over Jason Witten who abused the defense in the first game. But I'm a broken record because I always believe a team must stop the run before anything else.