Here's what we're watching for ...
1. Life without Jason Pierre-Paul: In base defenses, we expect the Giants to line up with a rotation of Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara, with Owa Odighizuwa possibly adding a speed rush element on obvious passing downs. But make no mistake, this is going to be an all-hands-on-deck effort. Linebacker Devon Kennard is also going to be a big part of the puzzle for a team that cannot let running back Ezekiel Elliott break containment. He's dangerous enough as it is between the tackles. The Giants were uniquely qualified to handle Elliott the last time thanks to the addition of Damon Harrison, who, along with Johnathan Hankins, forms one of the best defensive interiors in football. Unlike an Aaron Donald or J.J. Watt, the combination of Hankins and Harrison can negate certain deficiencies on the outside thanks to their speed and push through the A and B gaps.
2. A more open-minded Manning? Let's be clear: There is a lot happening within the Giants' offensive meeting room right now. Odell Beckham isn't playing his best football and Manning is -- at times -- staying locked in on his No. 1 receiver too long. Against the Steelers last weekend there were plenty of yards left on the table, which is something that cannot happen this weekend. The Cowboys leave so few opportunities for the opposing offense to work that every possession is a Godsend (Dallas leads the NFL with 32:39 of average possession time per game and their opening possession in the last Giants game lasted until the 6:35 mark in the first quarter), and needs to be treated as such.
3. Will the Cowboys continue to put the vice grip on Beckham? The All-22 view of their last matchup is a thing of beauty. Dallas had a defender underneath and over the top of Odell Beckham for the entire game. The Giants tried to suck the underneath defender toward the line with checkdown passes to running backs and receivers. but they were well-prepared. The bracket-style coverage against Beckham is not a revelation, but it's something the Giants struggle to combat from time-to-time. Does Dallas give them a new look or keep it vanilla in case their next matchup is a one-and-done?
4. Will Shane Vereen be ready? Vereen is a massive difference maker for the Giants. While rookie Paul Perkins has developed nicely in his absence, there are only a handful of backs who can do more with a checkdown pass than the former Patriot. The Giants have not had their third-down back since Sept. 25. Vereen, who was initially thought to be out for the season with a triceps injury, has been practicing this week, though the Giants have been mum on his availability for the weekend.
5. Can Dak stay cool again? This seems like a silly question now. Prescott has been largely unfazed all season and the Giants are missing their second-best defensive lineman. Still, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has some pretty excellent cover corners at his disposal, which means he can use his linebackers and cadre of crossover safeties to generate some pressure. Every week is something new for Prescott, and it's up to Spagnuolo to find the kryptonite.
6. Does Dallas view this as a revenge game? There are prime-time matchups of this ilk that are simply nasty from the opening kickoff. That's what everyone is hoping for, but with Dallas already clinching a playoff spot, is there a chance it unintentionally takes its foot off the gas? This will arguably be the biggest regular season game at MetLife Stadium since the Christmas Eve showdown between the Jets and Giants back in 2011 (or the game the following week when the Giants still had to beat the Cowboys to get in).