Saturday Morning Update: Ground war looming

The Giants are getting ready to face the Cowboys tomorrow with two major life points weighing in their favor: weather and health.

For the second straight day, the Giants had all 53 players out on the field and practicing. CB Corey Webster (groin, ankle) will be out tomorrow. RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) and WR Hakeem Nicks (abdomen) are listed as questionable but will likely dress.

RB John Conner (hip), CB Trumaine McBride (hip), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Terrell Thomas (knee) are all probable and are expected to play.

The Cowboys will be without LB Justin Durant (hamstring), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck), LB Sean Lee (hamstring) but WR Miles Austin (hamstring), WR Dez Bryant (back), CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring), DT Jason Hatcher (neck), DT Nick Hayden (ribs), DE George Selvie (shoulder), DE DeMarcus Ware (thigh), S J.J. Wilcox (knee) are all probable and should play.

The game will be played in windy and cold temps tomorrow. By late afternoon, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-low 20’s with winds gusting over 20 mph.

The conditions could turn this game into a ground war. Many see this as a Giant advantage. Perhaps in years past it was, but the Giants have not run the football with much success this season. Neither has Dallas. The teams are tied for 28th in rushing, averaging just 77 yards per game.

The dynamics of the run game for the two teams has changed since the first meeting. The Giants have yet to solve DeMarco Murray, who has averaged 5.4 yards per carry over the past three meetings (45/242) and racked up 86 yards vs the Giants in Week One.

But since then, the Giants run defense has been become of the league’s best. Over the past seven games, the Giants are allowing just 52.7 yards per game (3.1 ypc) and they’ve done it vs the elite backs in the NFL:

Week 4 at KC (Jamaal Charles) : 65 yards (3.6 avg.) 0 TD
Week 5 vs. PHI (LeSean McCoy) : 46 yards (2.3 avg.) 1 TD
Week 6 at CHI (Matt Forte): 67 yards (3.5 avg.) 0TD
Week 7 vs. MIN (A. Peterson): 28 yards (2.2 avg.) 0TD
Week 8 at PHI (L. McCoy): 48 yards (3.2 avg.) 0 TD
Week 10 vs. OAK (Rashad Jennings): 88 yards (4.4 avg.) 0 TD
Week 11 vs. GB (Eddie Lacy) 27 yards (1.9 avg) 1 TD

I would say Murray and the Dallas o-line have his work cut out for them. The Giants will go with a combination of Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs. Neither were around for the first meeting and Brown, in just two games, has taken the team lead in rushing yards. Jacobs has been money in short-yardage attempts this season.

Let us not forget Dallas is last in the NFL in total defense and is allowing 126 yards per game on the ground. Without Lee, they become even more vulnerable. The Giants should win the ground war here, but hey, it’s a Cowboy-Giant game and anything is possible.