Giants (2-10) vs Cowboys (6-6)
The Cowboys enjoyed a Thursday night 38-14
victory over the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys never trailed in the game, and
the Redskins didn't help their cause by committing four turnovers.
tried something new last Sunday in Oakland, but ended up with the same results.
Head coach Ben McAdoo had second string quarterback Geno Smith take the start.
The Giants lost to the Raiders 24-17, and McAdoo lost his job the next day.
- Raiders Wrap-Up
Prescott did an amazing job last year taking over for Tony Romo who was injured
before the season started. The Cowboys went on to win the NFC East division with
a 13-3 record, and true to form in this competitive division, it's hard to repeat.
Currently, the Philadelphia Eagles are on top with a 10-2 record, and winning
just one game out of the remaining four would give them the division title. The
Cowboys would have to win the remaining four games with the Giants, Raiders, Seahawks,
and the last one with the Eagles just to come up with 10 wins.
The offense took a big hit as soon
as running back Ezekiel Elliott started his suspension. The Cowboys went on to
lose three straight before winning against the Redskins in their last Thursday
Night game. Running back Alfred Morris got on track, and had 127 yards rushing
and one touchdown. Rod Smith ran for another, and while Dak Prescott completed
only 11 passes out of 22, two of them went for touchdowns. So have the Cowboys
figured things out?
Prescott threw for
23 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions in his rookie year, but currently has
18 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. His overall completion percentage has dropped,
as well as yards per catch by his receivers. In the three loses without Elliott,
Prescott was passing the ball more, and he had no touchdowns and five interceptions.
In the win, as with two others, Prescott threw 22 passes or less. They trusted
a running game that featured 42 carries. Running is how this team wins games.
Their biggest strength last year
was playing against the run. They were the strongest defense in the league, allowing
an average of just 83.5 yards per game. Now they're 12th, allowing an average
of 107.8 yards a game. It hasn't helped that linebacker Sean Lee has missed five
games dealing with a hamstring injury. He is expected to play, and they always
do better with him. Linebacker Justin Durant, defensive lineman David Irving,
and cornerback Orlando Scandrick will not play.
Against the Redskins there
were a total of four takeaways, and a number of other big plays that really helped
their offense out. The Cowboys passing defense has improved slightly, and the
two interceptions last game brought their total to seven on the year. Overall
they are not an aggressive secondary, and try to keep plays in front of them.
Over the last two years they finished as one of the bottom five teams, with 9
and 8 interceptions. Up front, the Giants offensive line will have to watch out.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence leads the NFL with 13.5 sacks.
Who should start for the Giants
in this game? A quarterback who has faced the Cowboys in 26 games over 14 years
or Geno Smith? Steve Spagnuolo solved that difficult problem as soon as he took
over as the interim head coach. General Manager Jerry Reese may have jinxed himself
before the season started stating that Eli Manning is probably on the back nine
of his career. Now Reese and Ben McAdoo are out, and Manning is back in. Manning
will still be playing with an offensive line that gives him no time in the pocket,
and the running game is still hit and miss.
What Manning does have is his
ability to read opposing defenses at the line and make the proper adjustments.
Also, Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram should both be on the field for
him. When Shepard was out Manning didn't have many options. Last week Engram was
playing at his best, and hanging onto the ball. He caught seven out of eight passes
for 99 yards and one touchdown, and Shepard caught three out of six for 56 yards.
Tavarres King caught only four out of nine for 23 yards, and hopefully Manning
worked on that with him this week.
Stopping the run is what will be
on their minds. If the Cowboys get that going it means a lot for their passing
game, and for Dak Prescott to be efficient. In the season opener against the Cowboys,
when the Giants defense was at full strength, Prescott threw for a season high
268 yards. Ezekiel Elliott was in that game, and now Alfred
Morris has shown he can be a suitable replacement, running behind one of the best
offensive lines out there. Jason Pierre-Paul suffered an injury to his right hand
and may have to have it wrapped, but he'll definitely be needed for the Giants
to have a chance.
The Giants have lost a number of players since that opener,
and are allowing 260 passing yards per game. They need to dictate when Prescott
will throw the ball rather than letting the Cowboys have an either-or choice with
the running game working. That said, tight end Jason Witten always feeds off the
Giants, and he has 153 receptions against them. Aside from Dez Bryant, Witten
will be their biggest problem.
the Cowboys that good last game playing against the Redskins, or did the Redskins
play so poorly that they enabled the Cowboys to break their three game losing
streak? That's hard to say. If they lose to the Giants this week, it's a real
strong indication that they can't survive without Ezekiel Elliott. How will the
Giants react after the last two weeks of turmoil and the coaching change?
Aside from Steve Spagnuolo reinstating Eli Manning as the starting quarterback,
he made some adjustments over the practice week that seemed to be productive for
the players. Spagnuolo needs them to play their best, because there are a lot
of deficiencies to overcome. The Cowboys are the traveling team, and with this
being a division game against possibly inspired players, I'd take a chance on
NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Cowboys (6-6) at Giants (2-10).
at 4:05pm Redskins (5-7) at Chargers (6-6).
Sunday at 4:25pm Eagles (10-2)
at Rams (9-3).
The Cowboys are the only NFC East team favored to win in these
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Eli Manning will start for the 223rd time in the Giants last 224 games, including
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