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Giants vs. Cowboys 2014, Week 12: When the Giants have the ball

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Can the Giants do enough offensively to defeat Dallas?

Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Giants have averaged 14.4 points per game during their five-game losing streak. They were shut out once (by the Philadelphia Eagles) and the most points the scored in any game came in a 40-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, a game in which they trailed, 40-10. Obviously, that is not good enough.

Can things change Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys? Let's take a look at how the Giants' offense matches up against the Cowboys's defense.

What Happened Last Time

Manning had one of his most efficient games (21-of-33, 248 yards, three touchdowns, a 116.7 passer rating). Larry Donnell caught seven passes, Rueben Randle six and Odell Beckham four. Donnell, however, had two costly fumbles in the fourth quarter. One came at the Giants' 27-yard line with the Giants trailing, 21-14, and 11:13 left in the game. The Cowboys converted that into a touchdown to put the game out of reach. The other came on the Giants' final offensive play.

The Giants protected Manning well in this game, not allowing any sacks. They really could not run the ball, though, with their 26 carries for 104 yards being deceptive. Running back Andre Williams had only 51 yards on 18 carries (2.8 yards per carry).

What Could Be Different This Time

First, the Giants will hope that their performance is bolstered by a couple of veteran reinforcements who did not play Week 7 vs. the Cowboys. Leading rusher Rashad Jennings is back after missing the first game with an MCL sprain. Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz will play for the first time all season on Sunday, having missed 10 games with a dislocated toe.

The Giants will also hope that rookie Odell Beckham can continue to be a play-making force. Over the past three weeks Beckham is second in the NFL in receiving yards (357) and tied for third in receptions (21).

Final Thoughts

First and foremost, the Giants will count on seeing the 'Good Eli' who has been present most of the season rather than the 'Bad/Atrocious/Horrific Eli' they saw during Sunday's five-interception abomination against the San Francisco 49ers. A key to that will be protecting Manning better than the Giants did Sunday, when he was sacked/hit/hurried on a ridiculous 24 of 47 drop-backs. The presence of Schwartz, wherever the Giants choose to put him on the line should help. Sam with Justin Pugh. The Giants will cross their fingers that the right tackle, who left Sunday's game with a quad strain after just eight snaps, will be able to play vs. Dallas.

Beyond that, whether Giants fans like it or not, the Giants will try to establish some semblance of a running game. Coughlin harps on the need for it, and it makes fans crazy. The numbers, though, bear out that he is correct that the Giants are MUCH better when they run successfully. The Giants are 3-1 when they rush for at least 100 yards in a game this season, 0-6 when they don't.

The Dallas defense, worst in the league a season ago, has been better this season. It is, however, hardly an impenetrable force. It has been helped by the fact the Cowboy offense is third in the league in time of possession (32:19 per game). If the Giants can run the ball efficiently and minimize turnovers, two big ifs with the Giants on a weekly basis, there should be opportunities for Manning, Beckham and Co. to make some plays.