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Giants - Cowboys
Game 11 preview
Thursday Nov 24, 4:30 PM - Cowboys at Giants

Giants (7-3) Cowboys (7-3)
The Cowboys are coming off a strong victory over the Minnesota Vikings. They handed one of the top teams in the league a 40-3 loss.
The Giants took a tough loss on Sunday to the Detroit Lions. It was their worst performance of the year, losing the game at home to the Lions 31-18.

Dallas Cowboys
In 2018, the Cowboys won the NFC East Division, and the Wild Card playoffs against Seattle before losing in the Divisional playoffs to the Rams. They finished in second and third place during the next two years, before landing atop the division in 2021 with an impressive 12-5 record. Only two other teams had finished with a better record in the NFL. They went one and done in front of their hometown crowd, losing their Wild Card game to the 49ers, 2317.
Things did not start off well for the Cowboys in the home opener this year. In a 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they also lost starting quarterback Dak Prescott, who was out for five games. Despite that, backup quarterback Cooper Rush won four of those, including a game against the Giants. Prescott returned, and he's led the team to three wins out of four. The Cowboys and the Giants have the same 7-3 record, and both teams trail the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles in the division.

Dallas Cowboys Offense
The offense was clicking for them last week against the Minnesota Vikings, as they scored on their first seven possessions. They had only three more after that, and added one field goal. Dak Prescott missed on only three of his 25 passes, and had 2 touchdowns. With the score out of hand, Cooper Rush had an opportunity to play, and he took over for Prescott, and completed four out of five passes. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott each had 15 carries. Elliott ran for two touchdowns, but Pollard with 80 yards rushing, led the two, and he averaged 5.3 yards a carry. Pollard was also the leading receiver, catching all six passes including 2 for touchdowns.
Prescott has done well of late, but despite the completions, overall he's thrown for 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb leads the unit with 58 receptions for 751 yards, and 5 touchdowns. You can't ignore those touchdowns, but it's surprising that the top receiver has been targeted 93 times, and only 62 percent have been completions. It's the running game that really makes this Cowboys offense work. The Giants defense hasn't shown they are up to that task, and even if they manage that, their secondary is weak due to recent injuries.

Dallas Cowboys Defense
Linebacker Micah Parsons was selected by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2021 draft, and it was a good choice. Parsons was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and went to the Pro Bowl. He had 13 sacks, and is already up to 10 with seven games left to play. Parsons is not the only one the Giants will have to deal with. There are defensive ends Dorance Armstrong, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dante Fowler Jr. with 7, 6, and 5 sacks in that order. The Cowboys are averaging over 4 sacks a game, to lead the league with 42.
Daniel Jones was hit 12 times, and took 5 sacks the last time these two teams played in the third game of the season. His offensive line was just breaking in then, and they did get better, but now they are just broke, trying to deal with various injuries. That includes Shane Lemieux coming off knee surgeries for his first game this season last Sunday, was injured, and is out for this game. Josh Ezeudu, the player he replaced is also out.
Jones ran nine times for 79 yards the last time against the Cowboys, and seven of those runs resulted in first downs. Jones might see some opportunities in the secondary if Darius Slayton can break free, but otherwise he and Saquon Barkley will have to work together to get the ground game going. The Cowboys defense has had troubles in that area. In the game before last, the Green Bay Packers used a ground attack to overcome a 14-point deficit, and handed the Cowboys a loss.

NY Giants Offense
Aside from running back Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton has been Jones biggest go to target. Slayton keeps the chains moving, as 20 of his 24 catches have gone for first downs. Next on that list of favorites would be Wan'Dale Robinson and Richie James, and each as 23 receptions. The bad news is that Robinson was injured last game, and will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. David Sills hasn't played in the last two weeks, but Isaiah Hodgins has. The Giants knew Hodgins, and claimed him off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.
So far Hodgins has catches on five targets for 70 yards, but Sunday lost a fumble that put the game out of reach after Detroit then scored a touchdown off the good field position. The other receivers Jones has available, Marcus Johnson, and Kenny Golladay, catch much less than half the passes that come their way. Getting back to Barkley, he ran for a season low 22 yards against the Lions.
He's had bad games before, when he had only 53 yards against the Seahawks. It's no surprise the Giants lost both those games, and if the Giants hope to win this one against the Cowboys, they'll need that from Barkley. After the Seahawks loss, he ran for 152 yards, and the Giants won against the Texans. Can Barkley do it with an offensive line that is constantly dealing with injuries? The Cowboys defense has had trouble stopping the run this season, and the Giants will need that from him.

Giants Defense
The pass rush, where is it? Dexter Lawrence leads this defense with 5 sacks, and the Cowboys field four players with that and more. Last Sunday against Detroit, the Giants had no sacks, and only three quarterback hits. Dak Prescott has completed 75 percent of his passes since he returned to the field, and the Giants don't need to give him more time to aid his throws. To make matters worse, using Adoree' Jackson as a punt returner last game, ended up hurting the Giants secondary. Jackson is the Giants best cornerback, and he suffered a knee injury that will have him sidelined for a number of weeks.
Like the Cowboys, the Giants run defense is a weak spot. Against Detroit they gave up 160 rushing yards on 37 carries, and 4 rushing touchdowns. It will be no treat for them to see
Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott on the field this Thursday.

Overall
Say the words NFC East, and people stop and listen. The division has gone from 'NFC Least' to 'NFC Beasts' as they continue to beat up on the rest of the league. The Giants let the group down last week with their loss to the Detroit lions, but we're sure they won't mind the Giants losing a step in their division. The Giants fans will forgive them as well, if they manage to take down the Cowboys on Thursday.
The Cowboys are the only division team the Giants have faced this season, and it didn't go their way. No one expected the Giants to go far this year, but the wins kept coming. They'll exceed expectations again, If they can pull out another one here.

NFC East Games
Thursday at 4:30pm Giants (7-3) at Cowboys (7-3).
Sunday at 1:00pm Falcons (5-6) at Commanders (6-5).
Sunday at 8:20pm Packers (4-7) at Eagles (9-1).
The Cowboys, Commanders, and Eagles are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Oct 2 Chicago at Giants
Oct 9 Giants at Greenbay (London)

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