It is that time of year again. The New York Giants (0-4) are preparing to go to AT&T Stadium this week to vs the Dallas Cowboys (1-3). Daniel Jones will be making his first career start in Jerry World. Also, it is worthy to note that the Giants will play in front of fans for the first time since Week 17 of the 2019 season.
Both teams are in the swamp of a division named the NFC East. Each team, other than the Giants, has only one win in four weeks of the season. The Philadelphia Eagles tied the Bengals in Week 3, so their record is 1-2-1. So realistically no team is out of the playoff picture yet.
Both teams have new head coaches and they have their own weaknesses thus far. Let’s preview both divisional rivals.
New York Giants
A positive, but negative depending on the result, is that the Giants are evenly matched. One good defense against a top-tier offense, while one hapless offense goes against a porous defense.
The passing offense has been unproductive and dull at this point in the season for Big Blue. Daniel Jones is making costly mistakes at times, staring his receivers down too long and forcing the ball in tight yardage windows. His receivers are not getting separation. Besides that, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett still does not know what the offense’s best fit is. The Giants are 28th in passing offense. This can also fall on the offensive line which has been in the bottom tier of the league when it comes to rankings. Andrew Thomas will face a lengthy competition against Aldon Smith while Cameron Fleming lines up in front of his old teammate, DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Giants are 31st in rushing only in front of the winless Houston Texans. The run game got going last week as finally, Daniel Jones was not the lead ball carrier in terms of yardage. This time it was Wayne Gallman. The Giants averaged 5.4 yards per carry last week, which was the best of the season for them. Even though Saquon Barkley is out, the offense showed towards the end of the game that Freeman, Gallman, and Lewis are all they need.
The Cowboys’ passing defense ranks 21st in the league while their rushing defense ranks 31st. This side of the ball can have it one of two ways. The offense can finally flourish and take advantage of a porous defense or the offense can be counterproductive and make the Dallas defense look like one of the best in the league.
The New York Giants’ defense last week had a really good outing. The team only gave up 200 passing yards to Jared Goff and 58 rushing yards to Darrell Henderson and the LA backfield. A different, but similar challenge comes this week for the Giants. Fans will be as loud as possible in the stands as they face one of the top-three offenses in the league.
Dak Prescott leads the NFL in passing yards with 1,690. Ezekiel Elliot is 12th in the league with 273 rushing yards. Dallas is currently 1st in passing offense and 24th in rushing offense. In the last two weeks the Giants have been stellar against the run compared to the first two weeks, only allowing 2.6 yards per carry combined in the last two games.
The Giants will have to attack their weakest spot right now: the offensive line. Pro-Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith is likely out for this game and the rest of the season with a neck injury. Right tackle La’el Collins is on injured reserve and is done for the season with a hip injury. Also, center Joe Looney is out with an MCL Sprain. So the starting offensive line will contain two swing tackles (Brandon Knight and Terence Steele), a rookie center (Tyler Biadasz), an average guard (Connor Williams), and a Pro-Bowl mauler (Zack Martin).
The passing game will be heavily used, as the Cowboys’ have the highest pass rate in the NFL with the Giants coming in second. The defense will most likely start Ryan Lewis at CB2 to improve the defense, rather than what Corey Ballentine and Isaac Yiadom would give you.
First in passing and 21st in rushing. Unfortunately, the defense not getting it together has sunk the offense’s production. Dak Prescott is 6-2 against the New York Giants in his career. Big Blue simply has not beaten Prescott’s boys since 2016.
The offense is facing good competition this week as the Giants rank 8th in passing defense and 11th in run defense. Dak faces some challenges as he is without two Pro Bowl-caliber linemen and a starting center. So other than the guard duo, Dak still needs to get used to two swing tackles and a rookie center.
The best way Dallas can stomp on their divisional rivals is by attacking the number two cornerback position. Ryan Lewis is likely going to start there since he played solid last week. However, that does not mean Isaac Yiadom will not get snaps. He is one to pick on when he is covering a speedy receiver like Michael Gallup or one of the other Cowboys’ targets.
If the Dallas offense can tire out the defense as the 49ers did in Week 3, the Giants may not put as much effort in resulting in many laps for the team at practice. That and a win would be beneficial to the Cowboys in Week 5.
This side of the ball is evenly matched with the Giants. Dallas faced some tough offenses in the previous weeks. They did not handle the task well. Right now on average, Dallas is last in the league giving up 36.5 points per contest.
Cowboys’ rushing defense ranks second to last in the league while their passing defense ranks 21st. The Giants’ offense ranks as one of the worst in the league as well.
If Jason Garrett is smart enough and wants revenge on his old team, he will try to help the running attack flourish. One of the things Jerry’s team is not good at. To stop this offense, the Cowboys’ pass rush will need to put pressure on this offensive line. Andrew Thomas did not please last week as he allowed multiple pressures. Cameron Fleming is not the greatest leaf on the tree either but according to Pro Football Focus, he played well in Week 4. Nick Gates is a new center still trying to get used to the middle of the offensive line. Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler have disappointed up to this point in the season as well.
Pressuring Daniel Jones will make him throw into tighter windows at a faster rate, making a mistake much more probable. Covering the receivers will make the offense’s job even harder, as the Giants’ receiving core ranks one of the worst in the league in separation.
The way many, including myself, see this game, is that this is not the Giants’ week to win. It is proved time and time again, that when the Giants get an advantage on one side of the ball, they blow the opportunity (vs 49ers). My prediction is that Dallas will win by a score of 24-13. Dallas’s offense will score enough points to win the game and to a point that the raw offense will not catchup. Things may change going into Week 6 against the one-win Washington Football Team.