The Dallas Cowboys (6-6) travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey this weekend to face off against struggling rival, the New York Giants (2-10). Fresh off firing coach Ben McAdoo, the Giants look to salvage something from this season, with this NFC East battle starting at 1:00 EST from MetLife Stadium. It can be viewed on FOX in local markets and always on NFL Sunday Ticket.
Both teams are lost in their own way. The Giants have been a catastrophe throughout the entire season, so much so they fired their coach and benched a quarterback who’s won two Super Bowls. The Cowboys finally lost their star running back to suspension, and had to snap themselves out of a three-game losing streak.
The Cowboys stayed alive in the NFC wild card race for one more week, but can’t afford another loss all season. After being whupped in three consecutive weeks by a combined score of 92-22, they bounced back to destroy the Redskins in Dallas. Now they’re back on the road, and will still be without their star, RB Ezekiel Elliott.
But they finally got the run game going without him, as they gained 182 yards on the ground versus Washington.
The Giants will have Eli Manning back under center for this game after McAdoo has benched him without injury for the first time in his career. New York is coming off yet another loss, this time to Oakland. They’ll come in as four-point underdogs.
Maybe, just maybe, Dallas has finally found their grown game without Zeke. Alfred Morris had been consistent with a small amount of carries, and then broke for 127 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown against the Redskins. It would perfect timing for Dallas, seeing as they’re playing a team who’s given up the most rushing yards in the league.
New York didn’t improve much in their game against Oakland, and have been able to consistently stop the run since playing Denver in mid-October. Don’t expect that to get any better against one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.
On the other side of the ball, defensive leader Sean Lee is probable now, and that will be a huge boost for the defense. The star LB had missed three straight starts with an injured hamstring.
For the Giants, having Eli Manning back in the starting lineup will give them a bit of a boost emotionally. But they’re still giving up far too many yards on the other side of the ball, and facing Lee and DE/wrecking-ball DeMarcus Lawrence (13.5 sacks) will be an uphill battle all afternoon.
With Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. done for the year, there’s not many options left in the passing game. TE Evan Engram will be keyed on, and that leaves only Sterling Shepard (only one touchdown) as the next-best target.
The ‘boys run defense has taken a major step forward the last two weeks (137 yards allowed combined, 2.6 YPC), so don’t expect RB Orleans Darkwa to have a whole lot to work with, especially with Lee back.
Morris should continue to pick up good yardage, and QB Dak Prescott will manage the rest. It’ll be at least a touchdown-win for Dallas.