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Giants-Cowboys: Five things to watch Sunday night

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What are the keys to beating Dallas again?

NFL: New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Giants need more touchdowns, like this one scored by Rashad Jennings, and fewer missed opportunities.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We have been previewing Sunday night’s New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys rematch all week. Let’s look now at five things to watch Sunday, which will also serve to review much of what we have already discussed.

30 points?

That is just another way of asking if this will finally be the week the Giants’ offense plays the way it was expected to when the season began. The Giants remain one of five teams that has yet to score 30 points in a game this season.

We have looked at this a number of ways this week.

I’m not going to offer more analysis. I’m just going to say that if the Giants can’t do better on offense than they have this season could have a disappointing finish.

The loss of JPP

Kerry Wynn is a nice depth player. Romeo Okwara and Owamagbe Odighizuwa are young players with potential. None of them can do what Jason Pierre-Paul can do. Not close. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows how much JPP means to the defense:

“We will miss him,” Spags said on Thursday. “You can’t replace him, but you just have to find other ways to make up for the production that he has given us.”

Can the Giants do that? The Cowboys, obviously, are about as a big a test as the Giants will face. So, we will find out quickly.

The Vereen effect

Will Vereen, out since Week 3, be added to the 53-man roster for Sunday? Ben McAdoo has said it will be medical decision, but it seems likely the pass-catching back will play vs. Dallas. Earlier this week, we looked at how much better the Giants on third down with Vereen than they have been without him.

Can Vereen be part of the solution as the Giants try to figure out how to get better production on offense?

Stopping the run

With or without Pierre-Paul, the mission statement is the same against Dallas. You have to find a way to slow Ezekiel Elliott and the run game. Otherwise, the Cowboys will hold the ball forever, be able to do what they want both on the ground and in the air and walk out of MetLife Stadium late Sunday with a 12th straight victory.

Chris took a terrific look at the Week 1 matchup between the Cowboys’ vaunted offensive line and the Giants’ outstanding defensive line.

Can the Giants have similar success this time?

The playoff picture

By the time the Giants play Sunday night we will have a better idea of which teams will be coming after them in the wild-card race. The Giants currently hold the No. 5 seed. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) are No. 6, with the Washington Redskins (6-5-1), Minnesota Vikings (6-6) and Green Bay Packers (6-6) in the chase position.

Minnesota is at the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Redskins travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers host the Seattle Seahawks and the Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints.