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Scouting the Dallas Cowboys: An answer for Jason Witten?

Giants need to find way to neutralize Dallas tight end Jason Witten.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys' tight end Jason Witten has been a thorn in the side of the New York Giants as long as he has been in the league. That was never more obvious than in Game 7 of the 2012 season, when Witten embarrassed the Giants' secondary with an unheard of 18 catches for 167 yards even though the Giants won, 29-24.

In 20 career regular-season games against the Giants Witten has 101 receptions for 1,100 yards and six touchdowns.

Quite obviously, the Giants have never really had an answer for the seven-time All-Pro. Do they have one this time?

The Giants have completely revamped their linebacking corps. Gone are Michael Boley and the pass defense-challenged Chase Blackburn and Mathias Kiwanuka. Outside linebackers Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger should have the athleticism to have a chance against Witten. Jacquian Williams, the Giants best coverage linebacker, will team with Paysinger in nickel defensive packages.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said only that it was a "good question" when asked this week how the Cowboys were able to exploit the Giants to get Witten those 18 catches.

"He's done that one time since I've been here, had that miraculous game," Antrel Rolle said Wednesday. "That's not gonna happen again. I can assure that. He will not have 17, 18 catches a game. That's not gonna happen again."

Witten, of course, set the single-season record for receptions by a tight end last season, hauling in 110 passes.

"He had an exceptional year all the way around," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "I think you have a pretty good player."

The responsibility for handling that "pretty good player" on Sunday night will likely be shared by Rivers, Paysinger and Williams.

"We have to get that done on Sunday," said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

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