Giants (8-4) vs Cowboys (11-1)
Cowboys extended their win streak to 11 with a Thursday night victory over the
Vikings. It was a tight game, and the final score was 17-15 in favor of the Cowboys.
Giants traveled to Pittsburgh and it didn't go well. They were behind for the
entire game and their six game win streak ended with a 24-14 loss to the Steelers.
- Steelers Wrap-Up
Cowboys came up with only one win last season playing without Tony Romo and
finished last in the NFC East with a 4-12 record. This year it
looks like the Giants caught the Cowboys just at the right time, a time when it
looked like they needed a Tony Romo to win games. The Cowboys lost that first
game of the season to the Giants 20-19, and who would have expected the Cowboys
to win every game since then?
Dak Prescott was a rookie making his first start in that season opener with the
Giants. He threw more passes in that game than he has in any other over the entire
season. Nothing was too risky and his longest completion was just 21, yards as
he completed 57 percent with no touchdowns. His rookie counterpart, Ezekiel Elliott,
was also finding his way, and ran for only 51 yards on 20 carries for a 2.5 yard
average. Those numbers represent their lows for the season except for one. Prescott
was 49 percent on completions in a tough overtime win over the Eagles.
twelve games into the season, Prescott has thrown 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.
Elliott is the NFL rushing leader with 1,285 yards, averaging 4.9 yards a carry
with 12 touchdowns, and he's lost only one fumble back in week 2. Cole Beasley
is targeted the most, and leads the team with 60 receptions for 670 yards and
five touchdowns. Tight end Jason Witten is second with 52 receptions for 553 yards
and two touchdowns. Dez Bryant missed three games, but leads the team with 6 touchdowns,
with four coming in fourth-quarter play. Overall, working with the best offensive
line, they are near the top in rushing, time of possession, third down efficiency
and most important, points per game.
coordinator Rod Marinelli gets the most out of his players. They rank 2nd in the
league against the run, and are the only team in the NFL that hasn't given up
100 yards to a rusher this season. That's not good news for the Giants running
backs, who ran for just 57 yards last week. In passing defense they rank 29th.
That would be good news for the Giants last year when they were 7th in that area,
but defenses seem to have figured out how to stop Eli Manning and his trio of
Linebacker Sean Lee missed quite a few games a few years ago,
including the entire 2014 season. He stayed healthy last year, and went to the
pro Bowl with 156 tackles. Now Lee leads the team with 112 tackles, 49 more than
anyone else on the team. This defense doesn't have a big pass rush, and have had
injuries in the secondary. Overall they give up about the same amount of points
per game as the Giants, 19 compared to 20. The biggest benefit for them is that
the Cowboys offense controls the ball longer, and scores on average 7 more points
They were ranked 8th in total offense last
season and now they're 26th. Eli Manning has thrown for less than 200 yards in
the last two games, and his 5 average yards per pass last week was his lowest
of the season. Odell Beckham Jr. was the big show in the game with 10 catches
for over half that yardage with 100, but where were the other guys? Cruz saw no
passes coming his way, and Sterling Shepard, aside from his 1-yard touchdown catch,
totaled just 20 yards on his other three receptions.
The offensive line hasn't
been the best. That accounts for some of it, and hopefully left guard Justin Pugh
will be back. The same goes for running back Shane Vereen, but still you're asking
a lot to expect them to play at top performance after missing so many games. Last
week Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings rushed for a total of 57 yards. Manning
will have to be effective passing to his receivers to make the running game work
rather than the other way around. It's possible, as the Cowboys secondary is their
weak point, and have allowed 20 passing touchdowns. Manning has the play makers
for that to happen if they can stay on the same page. Jennings caught a 13 yard
touchdown last week.
The Giants won that first game
with the Cowboys, and have been playing better as a unit since then. They have
a tough task this week in this rematch, going at it without defensive end Jason
Pierre-Paul. Aside from the impact that will have on getting pressure on quarterback
they'll miss his run stopping abilities. The Cowboys actually run the ball more
than they pass it, and Ezekiel Elliott, holding
a grudge from that first game, won't be as easy to stop as he was back then.
They're also facing a quarterback who can run. Prescott
was taking off about three times a game, but over the last two has done it 14
times for 76 yards, adding one touchdown to go with his other four. He also threw
the ball the least amount of times in those games, so one way or another Prescott's
always thinking about how he can make a play work. Without Pierre-Paul up front,
Romeo Okwara, Owa Odighizuwa and Kerry Wynn will have to show what they can do.
Cole Beasley sees the ball coming his way
more than anyone else for a reason, and the Giants generally don't do well covering
tight ends like Jason Witten. Cornerback Janoris
Jenkins held Dez Bryant to just one pass last
time for just 8 yards. Bryant is now on board working with Prescott,
and an offense that utilizes a strong running game.
Landon Collins and the rest of the group will have to play at their best to stop
the run and limit a talented mobile quarterback like Prescott.
The Cowboys have been playing strong, but facing a tough Vikings defense last
week, they saw a season low in yards, first downs and points.
Cowboys played in a Thursday night matchup, so they were able to sit back and
relax while watching the Giants play in their Sunday game with the Steelers. If
you're a Giants fan, you're hoping that the Giants didn't want to put their best
stuff on display and possibly reveal way too much. Yes, that must have been their
game plan. Why else would they have played so poorly? Let's go with that, and
let's see how shocked the Cowboys will be when Eli Manning actually throws a pass
to Victor Cruz this Sunday.
The weather is another factor for this game. The
Cowboys are on the road and aren't used to playing games with the temperature
dropping to the lows they will see. The Nov 13 game at Pittsburgh was their biggest
challenge at 56 degrees. With this being a division game, and with the Giants
history of upset games, it makes me have to pick them for the win on a cold Sunday
night in MetLife Stadium.
Sunday at 1:00pm Redskins (6-5-1)
at Eagles (5-7)
Sunday at 8:30pm Cowboys (11-1) at Giants (8-4)
and Cowboys are the teams favored to win in these games.
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Dec 11 - Cowboys at Giants.
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