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After starting the season 0-6, the New York Football Giants (4-6, 3-2 home) have reeled off four consecutive wins and find themselves in contention for the NFL's weakest division, the NFC East. Sunday at 4:25 ET they will try to pull even with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5, 1-4 away) while getting a little closer to the division leading Philadelphia Eagles who are 6-4. The line is currently Giants -2.5 at 5 dimes sportsbook with a total of 45.
The betting public seems to be buying in to the Giants winning streak as 65% of the wagers taken thus far at the largest sportsbook in the world, sportsbook.com, have been on the Giants.
The resurgence of QB Eli Manning has been pivotal to the Giants success. In their six losses his average QB Rating is a paltry 64, but rises to a respectable 81.4 in New York's four wins. It should only improve this week as the two-time Super Bowl winning QB takes on the worst defense in the NFL. The Cowboys rank dead last in the NFL against the pass (313 YPG) and are awful against the run at 29th (126.8 YPG). They should be a little fresher coming off the BYE, but that can only mean so much. WR Hakeem Nicks did not practice on Wednesday and could sit out Sunday. He is a preferred target for Manning.
The Cowboys gave up 40 first downs (NFL record) and 625 total yards to the Saints. It's tough to spin how bad they really are right now. To make matters worse, LB Sean Lee (hamstring) will be gone for at least three to four weeks after leaving in the first quarter of that game. He has 4 INTs this season. CB Corey Webster could be back for the first time since the Cowboys 10/27 game against the Eagles.
New York's defense is in for a treat as well. They are giving up just 11.75 PPG during their winning streak, but did so exclusively against backup QBs. How will they fare against Tony Romo, one of the best gun slingers in the NFL? Only time will tell. One thing seems certain though; the Giants 7th ranked rush defense will force Romo to beat them. The 11 year veteran ranks third in the league with 21 TDs and his 98.3 QB Rating is good for seventh best in the NFL.
Giant's RB Andre Brown is a new face to many, but it looks like he is the now the feature back for Tom Coughlin's crew. He carried the ball 30 times in a 24-20 win over the Raiders, gaining 115 YDs and 1 TD. Brandon Jacobs is the goal line back for New York and combined with Brown gives this team a solid running attack. That's big, because the Cowboys have allowed six rushing TDs in their last three games. DeMarco Murray, exiting a 16 ATT, 89 YDs, 1 TD performance against New Orleans, will be the man for the Cowboys 28th best running offense.
The Cowboys need WR Dez Bryant to be a playmaker in this game. He has been quiet in his last two games, but has three games this year with 100+ YDs and multiple TDs. Bryant also has three catches for 50+ YDs. TE Jason Witten is also a pivotal performer. The 11 year veteran has 47 catches for 532 YDs and 4 TDs this year. WR Terrence Williams has found the end zone five times in 2013 and has 29 catches for 498 YDs.
The direction you go in this game depends upon how much weight you want to give to the Giants recent winning streak. Are wins over the Vikings, Eagles, Raiders and the Packers without Rodgers significant enough to make up for an 0-6 start? Our model indicated the Giants recent success when we run this game using only the last 4 games of data. In that scenario it has the Giants on top by a score of 25-13. When we use the last 7 games, the score is 26-26 and when we use season to date data, it's 29-25 Dallas.
These two usually make for a good game regardless of where each team sits in the standings. It's a big one for the Giants and they certainly have the momentum in their favor. These two have split their season series for three consecutive seasons so we'll call for that pattern to continue as the Giants find a way to stay alive. Giants -2.5
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