Giants (0-0) Cowboys (0-0)
After coming off a disastrous 3-13 season in
2017, the Giants were hopeful that a new management team would get them back on
track. Finishing just two wins better, 5-11, was below expectations.
won the NFC East division title last season. They went on to beat the Seattle
Seahawks, but things came to an end in the NFC divisional game, where they lost
to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Cowboys have a new offensive
coordinator. Kellen Moore, who opened the 2017 season as the Cowboys backup quarterback,
but ended the season on their practice squad. In 2018 he became the quarterbacks
coach, and now he's their play-calling offensive coordinator. The Cowboys are
hoping Moore can add more creativity, and upgrade the red zone offense.
news coming off the end of the preseason games was all about Ezekiel Elliott.
Would the star running back be signed to a new contract, or would he be a holdout?
Just a few short days ago a deal was struck, and it appears that Elliott will
be on the field testing the Giants revamped defense. How long Elliott will play
will likely be decided on the game flow and how well the backup running backs
do in his place
The Cowboys offense was hurting
last season and Dak Prescott was under the gun. Two reliable targets were gone.
Tight end Jason Witten retired and Dez Bryant was released. In addition, the offensive
line lost Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick to an autoimmune disorder and other
offensive linemen suffered injuries. Prescott got a big measure of relief when
the team made a midseason trade to acquire Amari Cooper in exchange for a first
round draft pick.
The fans weren't pleased, but Cooper was the right answer,
and the Cowboys passing game really took off.
This year Frederick is back,
and as an added bonus, Witten 'un-retired' and is back as well. As for the ground
game, which revolves around Ezekiel Elliott,
how much can be expected from him after missing all of training camp? It will
be interesting to see how the new offensive coordinator handles the situation
balancing the number of run and pass plays this weekend.
The Cowboys have a top notch defense.
They finished the season 13th defending against the pass, and were 5th against
the run. They held opposing teams to an average 94.6 rushing yards per game. However,
the Rams took it to them in the playoffs. C.J. Anderson
rushed for 123 yards, and Todd Gurley ran for 115 yards and they scored three
touchdowns in the process. The Giants will study that and hope that their offensive
line can offer some of the same assistance for their own running game.
pass rushing DeMarcus Lawrence (25 sacks and 49 quarterback hits in the past two
seasons) will be doing his best to get at Eli Manning. Linebackers Leighton Vander
Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee are all tough to play against. The secondary
is the weak area of this defense. Cornerback Byron Jones made it to the Pro Bowl
last year, but had to have hip surgery in the offseason.
The Giants finished up last season
scoring more points than any other team in the NFC East. Unfortunately, they also
gave up more points than any of those teams. The Giants offense gained traction
over the last eight games, and were competitive in their last two, playing against
teams that were good enough to move on to the playoffs, losing by just one point
in each of those games. The Giants are hoping to pick up where they left off on
offense, and have made a number of changes on defense.
The big news for the
Giants this offseason was trading Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland for first and
third-round draft picks, and safety Jabrill Peppers. They also signed veteran
wide receiver Golden Tate to a four-year contract, and in the draft they used
their first round pick on quarterback Daniel Jones. This did not please the fans,
but their opinion changed after seeing his performances in the preseason games.
It wasn't all Jones, but the Giants went 4-0 in preseason games.
Many Giants fans will be happy to
hear that rookie Daniel Jones will be the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday behind Eli
Manning. Alex Tanney has much more experience, and you would think that he would
be the better choice to step in if Manning were injured during the game. It makes
you wonder if head coach Pat Shurmur has some additional plans involving Jones
athleticism, rather than having him on the sidelines the entire game.
traded away their top receiver, and signed Golden Tate to help fill that void,
but he accidentally violated the policy on performance enhancers and is serving
a four game suspension. Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram will see a
lot of passes coming their way in this game. For that matter, running back Saquon
Barkley caught more passes than any of the receivers last season. You can expect
to see him even more involved in the passing game, especially these first four.
In the last two games of the season,
the Giants held a fourth quarter lead with less than four minutes remaining before
their opponents turned things around with their come-from-behind drives. In fact,
the Giants allowed an NFL-high 169 fourth quarter points. They finished second
to last in the NFL in sacks. The Giants had traded run stopping Damon 'Snacks'
Harrison, and pass rusher Olivier Vernon during the season, and all-Pro safety
Landon Collins was allowed to walk.
Since then, the Giants since have picked
up veterans Jabrill Peppers, Markus Golden and Antoine Bethea, and used seven
of their ten draft picks on defensive players, They are counting on Lorenzo Carter
and B.J. Hill, who are now playing in their second years, as well as rookies Dexter
Lawrence and Oshane Ximines to generate pressure. Janoris Jenkins matched up well
against Amari Cooper the last time they played. He will be asked to do the same.
The uncertainties for the Cowboys on offense resolve around having a new offensive
coordinator, and using two players, Ezekiel Elliott, and Jason
Witten, who may need a break in period. On defense they're pretty set except for
somehow suddenly not being able to stop a running attack as they did in their
last playoff game.
The uncertainties for
the Giants on offense center around the Odell
Beckham Jr. trade. Even if the offensive line
has improved, missing Golden Tate
for this game certainly hurts. On defense, with the amount of change they've had,
the uncertainties are everywhere. You can hope for a few surprises, but this is
a game the Cowboys should win playing at home.
Sunday at 1:00pm Redskins (0-0)
at Eagles (0-0).
Sunday at 4:25pm Giants (0-0) at Cowboys (0-0).
and Cowboys are favored to win in these games.
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Eli Manning will become the first player to play 16 seasons with the Giants franchise.
have lost four consecutive games to the Cowboys.
Jason Witten will become the first player to play 16 seasons with the Cowboys
Cowboys won seven of their
eight home games last year.
Sept 15 Buffalo at Giants.
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