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

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Can the Giants slow the Dallas offense?

The Giants couldn't handle DeMarco Murray in their first meeting. Can they handle him this time?
The Giants couldn't handle DeMarco Murray in their first meeting. Can they handle him this time?
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New York Giants didn't have what it took to stop the Dallas Cowboys' offense back in Week 7. They failed to control running DeMarco Murray or wide receiver Dez Bryant, surrendered 423 yards, allowed Dallas to hold the ball for 33:19 and surrendered 31 points.

Can things be different Sunday night when the Giants, now 3-7 and losers of five straight games, host the 7-3 Cowboys Sunday night at MetLife Stadium? Let's break down the match-up between the Cowboys' offense and the Giants' defense and see.

What Happened Last Time

The first time the Cowboys and Giants met, DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys ran wild on the Giants. Murray gained 128 yards on 28 carries, enabling Dallas to hold the ball for 33:49 to 26:11 for the Giants.

In the passing game, it was the Dez Bryant show for the Cowboys. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie limited by leg and back injuries and able to play only 15 snaps, Prince Amukamara shadowed Bryant. Amukamara was valiant, but Bryant still caught nine passes for 151 yards. Seven of those receptions came in the second half. Tight end Gavin Escobar burned the Giants for a pair of touchdown receptions.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo completed 17-of-23 passes for for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

Jason Pierre-Paul had a huge game for the Giants despite being match up against outstanding left tackle Tyron Smith. He recorded two of his 3.5 sacks, had two pressures, recorded six stops and earned a +7.9 Pro Football Focus grade. This was easily Pierre-Paul's best game of the season.

What Could Be Different This Time

The Giants will be without several of the defensive players who played key roles in that game. Amukamara is on IR. So is middle linebacker Jon Beason, who made his final appearance of the season in the last game against Dallas. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion) missed last week's game and their status for Sunday night is still uncertain.

The last Dallas game began a string of four straight during which the Giants gave up 423 yards or more, a streak broken last week vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

Will Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) be healthy enough to shadow Bryant? Will the Giants commit to the run game to try and take Murray, and the ball-control element, away from the Cowboys? If Dallas goes to the air, can the Giants' decimated secondary hold up?

Final Thoughts

If the Giants couldn't stop the Cowboys a month ago, when they weren't as depleted personnel-wise as they are now, how are they going to stop them this time? Well, if they play as disciplined and as hard against the run vs. Dallas as they did last Sunday against the 49ers they have a fighting chance.

If Rodgers-Cromartie is healthy, they are still OK on the outside with DRC and Zack Bowman at corner.

Can the Giants bring the same effort and intensity Sunday that they showed vs. San Francisco? They haven't done so on any sort of consistent basis this season, so it is impossible to predict. They will need to, however, or else they will embarrass themselves once again on a national stage.