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5 Things New York Giants Must Improve From Season Opener

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Five Things New York Giants Must Improve On From Season Opener

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys meet on Sunday in a game that will be crucial if the Giants want to continue their quest for the playoffs. The Giants have won four-straight games. With a victory, they could jump into second place in a tie with the Cowboys.

As of now, the Philadelphia Eagles stand alone in first place with a record of 6-5. The Cowboys have lost two of their last three games and find their season slipping away from them. A win for Dallas could put them in a tie for first place in the NFC East.

Sunday’s divisional matchup marks the second meeting of the season between the two foes, as the Cowboys beat the Giants 36-31 in the season opener in Dallas. It's hard to gauge exactly how a team is going to fair based on their first game, but both teams exhibited blatant signs of rust. It’s not out of line to label the affair as an ugly one.

Despite a bevy of turnovers, the Giants remained in the football game on the right arm of their quarterback. Eli Manning absolutely shredded the Cowboys defense, throwing for 450 yards and four touchdowns. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle all had over 100 receiving yards, and Cruz also caught three touchdowns. However, in the end, the six Giants turnovers stole the spotlight.

Considering New York has lost their first six games of the season, being in second place after this week would feel like nothing short of a miracle. Here are five things the Giants must improve on from their first meeting with Dallas if they hope to come away with a victory on Sunday.

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The secondary didn’t have a terrible game in the first matchup. However, they also could have been much better. Although the Giants held Tony Romo to under 300 yards passing, he still threw for a whopping 36 completions. Three Dallas Cowboys had eight or more receptions, including Jason Witten, who continues to devastate New York’s defense. The Giants secondary has improved with each game and it’s important to note that New York was without Will Hill in that first meeting.

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Recognition by Coaching Staff

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This one is directed at offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride. Gilbride waited way too long to let Manning loose in the first meeting. The running game had been rendered ineffective but Gilbride continued to pound the ball, even on back-to-back plays in the second half when the Giants were playing from behind. The running game has turned around with the return of Andre Brown, so maybe the passing game will be the one struggling on Sunday. Either way, the Giants will need Gilbride to adjust faster.

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Pass Rush

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The Giants did manage two sacks in the first meeting but they came on back-to-back plays and one should be credited to the secondary. Through their first six games, the Giants were ranked dead-last in sacks. However, in their last two games, New York has recorded seven sacks. Jason Pierre-Paul looks better than he has all year and it is starting to feel like a classic Giants defense. New York will need to put Romo under pressure in order to disrupt the Dallas passing game.

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Running Game

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s running game in the first matchup against Dallas was nothing short of a disaster. David Wilson fumbled twice and rode the bench for the majority of the second half. Beyond the turnovers, things didn’t get much better. The Giants finished with 50 total rushing yards, as Da’Rel Scott led the way with 23 yards. Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs will handle the load on Sunday against Dallas’ now No. 29 ranked run defense.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The turnover margin told the whole story in the season opener. The Giants turned the ball over six times and the Cowboys turned it over just once. Manning led the way with three interceptions, the last of which was returned for a touchdown and effectively put the game out of reach. New York has been better of late (on both sides of the ball) and will need to continue that trend if they want to come away with a win on Sunday.