The Cowboys enter a vital stretch off of their bye week, playing two of the next three games at home and two of the next three in the NFC East. It would be helpful if they could file two of the next three in the win column.
As strange as the Giants' mastery in Arlington was for the first four games they played at AT&T Stadium, the opposite has been true since Met Life Stadium opened in New Jersey for the 2010 season. The Cowboys have won on four of their five visits to the new stadium (all under Jason Garrett) and certainly have no issues with comfort. Before that, in the old Giants Stadium, Dallas had only four victories since 1996 (4-10).
Regardless, this NFC East matchup is vital for both teams, with the Cowboys trying to move to 3-0 in the division, which will certainly be an important tiebreaker.
In preparation for the game, the following players jumped off the screen as potential key elements who were a bit more under the radar than Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.:
RT Marshall Newhouse
Every position along the offensive line is different from that spot in 2014 for the Giants, including right tackle, where the TCU product handles the edge.
Newhouse was an unheralded fifth-round pick who has repeatedly been pressed into duty after an injury strikes -- first in 2011-13 for Green Bay, where he started 31 times at left and right tackle, then Cincinnati, where he started five times in 2014, and this season with the Giants, for whom he has played every snap.
Newhouse is a "try hard" guy who's best suited as a backup and can run block well. But he can certainly be exposed in pass protection on the edge with quickness. San Francisco's Aaron Lynch gave him fits two weeks ago, and despite the low number of sacks allowed, that is much more a product of Eli Manning's getting the ball out quickly than any sort of collective excellence in pass protection.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
In 2008, "DRC" was taken as the second corner overall (Leodis McKelvin to Buffalo was first), with Dallas selecting Mike Jenkins as the third. Since then, he has been incredibly well traveled with three years in Arizona, two in Philadelphia, one in Denver and now two more with the Giants. He is among the least-tested corners in the league and was used primarily against Dez Bryant in the second matchup last season after Bryant destroyed Prince Amukamara the first time around.
Rodgers-Cromartie relies on his absurd top-end speed (sub-4.3 40-time at the combine) and superior ball skills to present easily the toughest secondary challenge for any opponent.
S Brandon Meriweather
The top pick of the New England Patriots in 2007, Meriweather is another starter in the Giants secondary who has been on many teams. The Giants are his fourth team as he plays in his ninth season, and he was certainly not the original plan for the Giants at starting safety. He was brought in during camp because of injuries.
Since then, he has become the starter opposite rookie Landon Collins and has continued to do what has made him famous and heavily fined by the NFL office -- hitting. He is as physical as any safety and has been disciplined by the league five times for violating the league's player safety policies. He will hit hard, but he will also expose himself as susceptible to deep pass plays while he looks for hits.