With an eye toward Sunday, we have traded 5 questions with Dave over SB Nation's Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys.
It is something we hope to do each week with the SB Nation blogger for whichever team the Giants are facing.
Here are Dave's answers to my questions.
BBV: We keep hearing about the Phillips 34 vs. the Parcells 34. What's the difference?
Parcells ran a two-gap 3-4 scheme which required the defensive line to protect gaps on either side so they were in a read-and-react mode, as were the middle linebackers. It was good against the run, but didn't create a lot of pressure on the QB. Parcells also didn't move his guys around before the snap and didn't run a lot of stunts with the defensive line because of the two-gap responsibility.
Wade Phillips runs a one-gap 3-4 scheme, meaning guys are only responsible for the gap on one side of them so they are expected to get upfield. Attack instead of read-and-react is the philosophy. Phillips also has guys in motion on defense before the snap, runs a lot of stunts and he blitzes more than Parcells. He tries to get maximum pressure on the QB. Parcells ran a containment defense (bend-don't-break) that was conservative by comparison; the Phillips 34 is an attacking defense that relies on deception, movement and blitzes to get into the backfield.
BBV: Is there a particular player or players on this Cowboys team Giants fans might not be familiar with, but whom we should watch out for?
Well, you're going to see a lot of 3rd WR Patrick Crayton as Terry Glenn looks like he won't be playing. Crayton was statistically one of the best #3 WR's in the league last year and will be counted on to pair up with T.O. in the passing game. Also, watch out for backup TE Anthony Fasano, Witten will still get the majority of the action, but Fasano had a very strong camp in the passing game and will run 2-TE sets with Witten. On defense, rookie 1st-round pick Anthony Spencer will start at OLB opposite DeMarcus Ware. If he plays well, the defense will prosper, if he doesn't, you guys will run to his side all game long.
BBV: You probably know by now that I am on record predicting that Eli Manning will have a better season than Tony Romo. Tell me why you think I'm wrong?
I think the Cowboys have more weapons at the skill positions and last year the offense was in the top five in almost every offensive category (except the running game) and a lot of those stats came from Tony Romo. We improved the line by bringing in Leonard Davis to play guard - not tackle - where his bulk and strength are assets. Plus, Romo is going into his first year as the starting at QB to begin the season, so I think he'll be better now that he has a little experience. Manning has had quite a few years to improve his craft. So if I'm betting, I think Romo has a better season. Of course, I'm a homer so this should be no surprise.
BBV: The Giants suffered quite a few injuries in preseason. I believe the Cowboys did as well. Can you give us an injury report -- who the Cowboys might be missing and how that will impact the game?
We just found out that Terry Glenn has re-injured his knee and will probably miss the game. He had surgery during training camp and was supposed to be OK for the opener, but injured his knee again in practice. Greg Ellis tore his Achilles in the middle of last year and tried to return in training camp, but didn't last 10 minutes with a severe case of bursitis on his heel and hasn't practiced yet. He's almost certainly out for the game. Backup LB Kevin Burnett, an important component in our nickel/dime defenses had bone chips removed from his ankle last week, but practiced yesterday and is questionable. The injury that has us very nervous is to stud CB Terence Newman. He's been diagnosed with a partially torn plantar fascia, and no one is sure if he can play effectively on it. The Cowboys think he'll play but we just don't know how it will turn out. Stay tuned on that one.
BBV: Hypothetical question, but I look forward to seeing this actually happen. Who gets the worst of a head-on collision between Brandon Jacobs and Roy Williams with both going at full speed?
I've watched Roy blow them up before, so I'll have to go with Jacobs getting the worst of it even though Jacobs outweighs him by 40 pounds or so. But ESPN will come out the best in that collision as they loop it over and over on SportsCenter. But really, what you should watch for is Roy wiping out one of the Dallas players; he seems to run into anything that moves out there.
Be sure to head over to Blogging the Boys to see what Dave asked me. Oh, and be nice to Terry while you're there.