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Keys to victory for Cowboys with NFC East hopes still alive in New York

The Dallas Cowboys will take the field with a chance to win the NFC East in Week 17 if they can beat the New York Giants and get some help within the division.

DALLAS — The whole season comes down to the last game for the Dallas Cowboys. They don’t control their own destiny, but they can put themselves in position to win the NFC East with a victory over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands during their final regular season tilt. 

A few weeks ago, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thought the Week 17 contest between these rivals would mean anything for the Cowboys other than draft positioning. Yet, thanks to a three-game winning resurgence, here we are. The team refused to quit and they have given themselves a chance at the playoffs.

To complete the improbable postseason run, Dallas will need to finish the season sweep of the Giants and then hope like heck that the Philadelphia Eagles can beat the Washington Football Team on Sunday Night Football.

Here’s what the Cowboys will have to do to uphold their end of the bargain.

Force Daniel Jones to make mistakes with his arm

Creating turnovers is one of the major reasons that the Cowboys have come full circle in the last month. Their defense has 10 takeaways during their three-game winning streak and they’ll be facing one of the league’s most turnover prone players. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has more turnovers (14) than touchdowns (10) on the season, and has fumbled 10 times on the year. 

RELATED: Cowboys 100: Facts and stats for Week 17 finale against New York Giants

Jones loves to try and extend plays, which leaves him susceptible to taking hits and causes him to put the ball on the ground. The Dallas defense needs to capitalize if Jones makes any miscues.

Keep Jones in check on the ground

Despite his propensity to turn the ball over, Jones has the athleticism to make life difficult for the Cowboys as one of the best running QBs in the NFL. Jones has five games with over 45 yards rushing and three games with over 60 yards on the ground this year.

Jones also has a tendency to play his best against the NFC East this season, but the Cowboys held Jones to -7 yards rushing in their first matchup back in Week 5. If the defense can hold Jones down again, it would go a long way toward winning the game.

Keep Andy Dalton clean and upright

The Giants have one of the best defensive lines in the league and they have collected 34 sacks on the season, including two in the first matchup against Dallas back in October. It’s no secret that the Cowboys are working with an offensive line that consists of nearly all backups, so it will be a tough task to slow the Giants in the trenches.

New York’s defense ranks 10th in the league and the Cowboys have struggled against strong defensive line groups this season. If the offensive line is able to give Dalton time in the pocket, it would provide their best chance for success. 

Get the ball to the playmakers

The Cowboys scored 37 points against the Eagles in Week 16 by getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers. Running back Ezekiel Elliott had over 100 yards rushing, even with all three of their top wide receivers putting in a starring effort.

Rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb had two scores, while Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup each had over 100 yards receiving. The three stud WRs each also had an explosive play of over 50 yards on the game. 

If the Cowboys continue to get big plays from their best weapons on offense, they will give themselves a good shot at beating the Giants and give everyone a reason to keep their eyes glued to the Sunday Night NFC East decider.

Do you think the Cowboys will end up winning the NFC East? Share your predictions with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.