It’s a familiar start to the season for the New York Giants with another meeting in “Jerry World” against the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants have lost the last four meetings with the Cowboys. The Giants are hoping to turn the tables Sunday at 4:25 for America’s Game of the Week. Here are the keys to victory over the Cowboys.
Ezekiel Elliot signed a massive 6 year, $90 million contract this week. Either way, the Giants were preparing to play him anyways, even with the potential of Pollard getting the start. Elliot missed all spring and summer on a holdout, so the Cowboys will not feed him the ball all but 10-15 carries if that. If the Giants want to be successful versus Zeke, they will need to do a few things.
The Giants need to clog up the middle on defense. That is one reason I do not like the 3-4 defense because it is much harder to stop the run with this look, especially if the wrong guys are implemented in this look. Rookie Dexter Lawrence will be a great addition, as he will eat up blocks, giving the backers an opportunity to shoot the gap to make plays. They have speed to contain the outside runs, but the power plays and dives will be the Achilles heel for the Giants. A unit that has struggled against the run for the last few years, this will be the ultimate test for their defense.
Pass coverage will be a big part of this game. With weapons like Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Michael Gallup, and Jason Witten, the Giants will have their hands full. The Giants should have Jenkins shadow Cooper, since he will be Prescott’s biggest target. With this many weapons, there will be a lot of man coverage on the field, especially with Betcher and his blitzing scheme. The Giants are going to need to be on top of their communication and to make sure every weapon is covered or accounted for. They cannot afford any blown coverages or miscommunications. Like last season, week two, giving up a big play early to Tavon Austin was enough to take the breath out of the defense, and have an early deficit.
Pass rush will be needed. This will be a challenge for the Giants front line, going up against a good offensive line. They will need to find a way to get a pass rush on Prescott. With pass rushing, they also need to solidify containment of Prescott, as he can take off and run as well. If the Giants can apply pressure on Prescott and keep him in the pocket, it forces him to take a sack, throw it away, or make a contested throw. The Giants failed to deliver a pass rush last season, one improvement they are hoping to have this season.
The Giants offensive line, mostly on the right side, will have the ultimate test, facing DeMarcus Lawrence. Remmers missed practice Wednesday, but returned Thursday with optimism to play Sunday. This would help greatly, otherwise they turn to Slade or Gates to fill in and face Lawrence. If Remmers can contain Lawrence just enough to give Eli time to throw, the Giants will have a great opportunity on offense. On the bright side, this offensive line will be much more effective than the lineup last season with Flowers at RT and Omameh at RG. Towards the end of last season, the Giants were scoring 30 points or more, even without OBJ. The Giants will need to have effective blocking to be productive Sunday. Give Barkley some holes to run through, and he’ll do the rest.