New York Yankees Postseason Recap: Yankees leave Petco to clean out lockers at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

Last night, at Petco Park the best team won the ALDS. The Tampa Bay Rays put down the New York Yankees for the final time this season.  They were the better team all season long, and they were in the postseason. The Yankees lost on the day they learned they lost the “Chairman of the Board,” Whitey Ford, who passed away at 91 on Thursday night.

Tomorrow on EmpireSportsMedia.com, I will tell the story of the great Whitey Ford in tribute.

On September 1, Aroldis Chapman buzzed the Tampa Bay Rays, Mike Brosseau; last night, Brosseau got back at Chapman, hitting the winning run off of him in the bottom of the eighth inning. In the top of the ninth, the dead bats that have been so prevalent throughout the season were dead again, and the New York Yankees lost the ALDS to the Rays and their fourth postseason in a row. The Yankees are now going to have to wait another year to get that 28th World Championship.

It’s far too early to talk about changes, but pitching wins games, and the Yankees, regardless of having one of the best pitchers in baseball, didn’t have the pitching staff to win games. You can have the best home run hitters in the game, but if you don’t have pitching, you don’t win games. One pitcher or one batter can not carry a team. The New York Yankees have failed again, but have nothing to be ashamed about. They battled and battled with another year of unprecedented injuries right up to the last out last night.

The night started with two pitchers, both on short rest. Tyler Glasnow went 2.1 innings and was replaced by Anderson, Fairbanks, and Castillo, who held down the Yankees striking out eleven Yankee batters. Gerrit Cole, for his part went into the sixth inning, holding the Rays to just one run. Zack Britton pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, and Chapman pitched a successful inning of work, until he gave up the homer to Mike Brosseau. The final score was 2-1, Chapman took the loss for the Yankees and Diego Castillo got the win for the Ray.

There will be a lot of finger-pointing tomorrow. Some will say it was the decision to start game 2 with two starters, some will it is was no hitting, some will say poor pitching, and some will even say Aaron Boone is a bad manager.  You can be sure that the Yankees brass will be examining everything over the next months.  The bottom line is that both teams played this last game very well, somebody was going to fail at some point, and this time, it turned out to be the Yankees.

 

 

New York Rangers dangle their feet in free agency with Jack Johnson the biggest splash

Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers completed a productive week by signing several players Friday afternoon as the NHL’s free agency period kicked off.

The Rangers made their big move on Tuesday night when they used their first overall pick to select Alexis Lafreniere. Gorton then used free agency to add some depth to the roster without paying the big dollars as the did last summer when they signed Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba.

From a position view, all three areas of the ice were addressed with the team signing three defensemen, four forwards, and a goaltender.

Friday’s Recap

Jack Johnson– Defense

Johnson, 33, has skated in 937 career NHL games over parts of 14 seasons (2006-07 – 2019-20) with the Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Pittsburgh Penguins, registering 70 goals and 232 assists for 302 points, along with 521 penalty minutes. He has averaged at least 19:00 of ice time per game in each of his 13 full seasons in the NHL, as well as 20:00 or more of ice time per game in 10 of those 13 seasons. Johnson has tallied at least 20 assists and 30 points in five different seasons throughout his career. In addition, he has registered 100 or more blocked shots in nine different seasons and 100 or more hits in seven different seasons in the NHL. Johnson ranked fifth among NHL defensemen in hits in 2018-19 (233), establishing a career-high in hits during the season. He served as an alternate captain for several seasons during his tenure with the Blue Jackets.

The 6-1, 227-pounder skated in 67 games with Pittsburgh this past season, registering three goals and eight assists for 11 points, along with 26 penalty minutes. Johnson ranked second among Penguins defensemen in games played in 2019-20, and he averaged 19:28 of ice time per game during the season. He led the Penguins in blocked shots (97) and ranked second on the team (led team defensemen) in hits (183) this past season.

Johnson is expected to fill the role of long-time defenseman Marc Staal who was traded to Detroit.

 Brandon Crawley – Defense

Crawley, 23, split this past season between the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. He registered 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) and 36 penalty minutes in 38 ECHL games with Maine in 2019-20. Crawley skated in nine AHL games with the Wolf Pack this past season, recording six penalty minutes.

The 6-1, 202-pounder has skated in 123 AHL games over parts of three seasons (2017-18 – 2019-20), all with the Wolf Pack, registering five goals and 15 assists for 20 points, along with 216 penalty minutes. Crawley established AHL career-highs in goals (three), assists (12), points (15), and penalty minutes (111) in 2018-19, and he also ranked sixth among AHL defensemen in penalty minutes during the season. He also led AHL rookies in penalty minutes in 2017-18 (99).

The Glen Rock, New Jersey native was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round, 123rd overall, of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Anthony Bitetto – Defense

Bitetto, 30, skated in 51 games with the Winnipeg Jets this past season, registering eight assists, a plus-three rating, and 32 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2019-20, including games played, assists, points, plus/minus rating, and average ice time (15:10). Bitetto ranked second on Winnipeg in hits this past season (145), and he led the Jets in hits per game (2.84). He ranked 23rd in the NHL, as well as fifth among NHL defensemen, (min. 30 games played) in hits per game in 2019-20. In addition, Bitetto ranked fourth on the Jets (and ranked second among Jets defensemen) in average shorthanded ice time this past season (2:11).

The 6-1, 210-pounder has skated in 183 career NHL games over parts of six seasons (2014-15 – 2019-20) with Nashville, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, registering two goals and 25 assists for 27 points, along with 122 penalty minutes. Bitetto also skated in each of Nashville’s 14 games during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has recorded 379 hits in his 183 career NHL games. Bitetto has averaged 9.48 hits per 60 minutes of ice time in his NHL career; since the start of the 2014-15 season, he ranks 10th among NHL defensemen (min. 100 games played) in hits per 60 minutes of ice time.

The Island Park, New York native was originally selected by Nashville in the sixth round, 168th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Kevin Rooney– Forward

Rooney, 27, skated in 49 games with the New Jersey Devils this past season, registering four goals and five assists for nine points, along with a plus-eight rating and 20 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in several categories in 2019-20, including games played and plus/minus rating, and he led New Jersey in plus/minus rating during the season. Rooney posted a plus/minus rating of even or better in 43 of 49 games he played this past season, and he was on the ice for only 10 even-strength goals against in 470:43 of even-strength ice time.

Rooney has skated in 95 career NHL games over parts of four seasons (2016-17 – 2019-20), all with New Jersey, registering 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points, along with a plus-one rating and 39 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in goals (six) and points (10) in 41 games with the Devils in 2018-19.

The Canton, Massachusetts native was originally signed by the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League (AHL) to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) on March 29, 2016, following his collegiate career at Providence College. Rooney signed his first NHL contract with New Jersey on February 27, 2017.

Colin Blackwell – Forward

Blackwell, 27, split this past season between the Nashville Predators in the NHL and the Milwaukee Admirals in the American Hockey League (AHL). He skated in 27 NHL games with the Predators in 2019-20, registering three goals and seven assists for 10 points, along with a plus-seven rating and 10 penalty minutes. Blackwell, who recorded all of his 10 points this past season at 5-on-5, ranked fifth on Nashville in points per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 (2.07) and ranked third in assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 (1.45) during the season. He also ranked sixth on the Predators in plus/minus rating this past season, and he was on the ice for only 10 even-strength goals against in 293:22 of even-strength ice time in 2019-20.

The Lawrence, Massachusetts native was originally selected by San Jose in the seventh round, 194th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Anthony Greco – Forward

Greco, 27, split this past season between the Springfield Thunderbirds, the Syracuse Crunch, and the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL), registering 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points, along with 14 penalty minutes. He tallied 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 37 games with Springfield, and he registered 118 shots on goal in those 37 games (3.19 shots on goal per game). Greco also notched four points (one goal, three assists) in his seven games with San Jose and posted a three-game assist/point streak over the final three games of the season.

The Queens, New York native has also skated in one career NHL game, making his NHL debut on December 13, 2018, as a member of the Florida Panthers. Greco is the only player in NHL history whose listed birthplace is Queens, New York. He signed his first NHL contract with the Panthers on November 20, 2017.

Johnny Brodzinski- Forward

Brodzinski, 27, skated in 44 games with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points, along with 26 penalty minutes. He tied for third on the team in goals, tied for fourth on the team in assists and points, and ranked second on the team in shots on goal (136) in 2019-20. Brodzinski also skated in three NHL games with the San Jose Sharks this past season, recording one assist.

The Ham Lake, Minnesota native was originally selected by Los Angeles in the fifth round, 148th overall, of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

 Keith Kinkaid – Goaltender

Kinkaid, 31, has appeared in 157 career NHL games over parts of seven seasons (2012-13; 2014-15 – 2019-20) with New Jersey and Montreal, posting a 65-56-20 record, along with a 2.95 GAA, a .905 SV%, and 7 SO. He appeared in 41 games and made 38 starts in each of his last two full seasons in the NHL (2017-18 and 2018-19), establishing career-highs in both categories. Kinkaid established a career-high in wins with 26 in 2017-18, helping the Devils advance to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he posted a 2.77 GAA and a .913 SV% during the season.

The 6-3, 186-pounder split this past season between the NHL and the American Hockey League (AHL) while in the Montreal Canadiens organization. Kinkaid appeared in 17 AHL games with the Laval Rocket and Charlotte Checkers in 2019-20, posting a 3.15 GAA and a .888 SV%. Kinkaid also appeared in six NHL games with Montreal during the past season.

Internationally, the Farmingville, New York native has represented the United States in several tournaments. Kinkaid helped the United States earn a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Championship and was named one of the Top Three Players on his team in the tournament, as he posted a 7-2-0 record, along with a 2.29 GAA, a .912 SV%, and 2 SO. In addition, Kinkaid represented the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Kinkaid was originally signed by New Jersey as an undrafted free agent on April 18, 2011.

The Rangers added some local flair to their system with four of the players coming out of the tri-state area. Where these players fit in with regards to the team’s current roster will be addressed once the NHL announces when teams can begin training camp.

The NHL is aiming for the 2020-2021 season to begin in January.

 

New York Giants: Daniel Jones throwing with great efficiency over the middle of the field

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants‘ offense has been pitiful in 2020. The Giants’ attack is averaging only 11.8 points per game and has not scored a touchdown in over two weeks. Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones has received plenty of criticism for the team’s poor offensive play this year.

Daniel Jones has had his struggles, particularly with ball security. Jones has turned the ball over seven times in four games. But, there has been quite a lot of good mixed in with the bad, despite the current narrative indicating otherwise. In particular, Daniel Jones has been excellent when throwing down the middle of the field.

Daniel Jones’s Stats Down The Middle

Daniel Jones has excelled when throwing down the middle of the field. Next Gen Stats has charted every Daniel Jones throw this season and noted how he has done in each section of the field. Week One was especially impressive for Jones.

In that Week One loss to Pittsburgh, Jones threw the ball down the middle of the field 16 times. He completed 13 of those passes for 182 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Daniel followed that up with another great outing down the middle of the field in Week Two. Against the Bears, Jones completed 13 of his 15 attempts down the middle for 172 yards and 1 touchdown.

The Giants’ offense struggled to do anything impressive in Week Three, and that includes Daniel Jones. This was definitely his worst performance of the season so far, and he was not efficient throwing in any direction. In this game, Jones threw 12 passes down the middle of the field and completed only 5 of them for 45 yards and 1 interception.

While the offense remained stagnant and struggled in Week Four, Jones did bounce back in some way. Throwing down the middle of the field, Jones completed 8 of his 11 attempts for 101 yards and 0 interceptions. This accounts for over fifty percent of Jones’s passing yards in this game.

Overall, it is hard not to recognize how efficient Daniel Jones has been while throwing down the middle of the field. In total through four weeks, Daniel Jones has completed 39 passes down the middle of the field on 54 attempts, a completion percentage of 72%. Without that pitiful Week Three performance, Jones’s completion percentage down the middle would be about 81%.

In total, Daniel Jones has thrown for 500 passing yards down the middle of the field in four weeks. This accounts for 56% of Jones’s 889 passing yards this season. Considering just how efficient Daniel Jones has been while throwing in this direction, it would be wise to see the Giants incorporate more throws down the middle of the field in their offensive game plan. New York is going against a struggling Dallas Cowboys defense this week. Expect to see some Danny Dimes delivered between the hashes.

New York Mets: Pete Alonso underperformed against fastballs in 2020

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The New York Mets, despite failing to qualify to the playoffs, boasted one of the best offensive units in the league. They were among the leaders in wRC+ and their lineup didn’t have too much trouble producing runs.

However, the sophomore season wasn’t so smooth for first baseman Pete Alonso. The Mets’ slugger was the Rookie of the Year in the National League in 2019, and he set a record for most home runs for a first-year player with 53.

While he hit homers at a similar pace this season (16 in 57 games), his overall production fell off a cliff. In 2019, he slashed .260/.358/.583 with a .384 wOBA and a 143 wRC+, but this year, he was at .231/.326/.490 with a .342 wOBA and a 119 wRC+.

The New York Mets’ star had a horrible first July/August, with .213/.333/.385, a .309 wOBA and a 97 wRC+. Thankfully, he improved in September (.256/.316/.640, .391 wOBA, 151 wRC+) and was more like the player we know he is.

So, why did he struggle in 2020? His 90.7 mph 2019 average exit velocity was similar to that of this year, 90.2 mph. His BB% and K% were also similar (10.4 BB% in 2019, 10.0 in 2020; 26.4 K% in 2019, 25.0 K% this year.) So what changed?

The Mets are hoping it was just small sample size noise

Alonso, who is still among the New York Mets’ most important players for the future, performed at a similar level against breaking balls in 2019 and 2020. Last year, he had a .292 wOBA against sliders and curveballs, and while the number went down to .278 in 2020, it isn’t a significant dropoff.

However, if we examine his numbers against fastballs, we see a significant collapse. His wOBA against the pitch was .358 in 2020, a rather mediocre mark considering his abilities and the fact that he finished with a .438 wOBA against heaters in 2019. Alonso slugged .513 against them in 2020, a far cry off the .669 mark of 2019.

His expected batting average versus fastballs was .237 this season. It was .286 last year.

It could be small sample size noise. It could a timing issue. Either way, the Mets will be expecting Alonso to make the proper adjustments and start punishing fastballs again in 2021.

New York Giants place OLB Oshane Ximines on injured reserve

New York Giants, Oshane Ximines

The New York Giants will not only be without outside linebacker Oshane Ximines on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, they placed him on injured reserve with a shoulder issue.

Examiners, who had a solid rookie season in 2019, racking up 4.5 sacks, 25 combine tackles, and nine quarterback hits, has struggled to get off in his second year as a pro. Through four games, he hasn’t recorded a sack and only has five total tackles. Interestingly, he has seen a decrease in snap percentage through four weeks, by about 4%.

Ximines will now be ineligible to play for at least three weeks while he recovers from his injury. It will open up a spot on the Giants’ active roster to add another player to the secondary or defensive line.

In the absence of Ximines, the Giants will likely utilize Markus Golden, Lorenzo Carter, and Kyler Fackrell as their primary rotational pass rushers. Golden has seen his share of snaps decrease since hitting 10.0 sacks in 2019.

So far this year, Golden has only six combined tackles, and one quarterback hit to show for a 26% snap count on defense. It seems as if the Giants retaining him was his only option, as other teams were not as giddy about his production last year. His ineffectiveness as a pass rusher has been notable, but he will see an increase in snaps as Oshane heals from his shoulder injury.

Fackrell is also questionable for Sunday’s contest, which would leave Golden and Carter as the Giants’ pass rushers at outside linebacker if he is unable to go.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown both earned some playing time against Dallas, just to mitigate fatigue at the position.

3 essentials for the Yankees to beat the Rays in game 5

New York Yankees, New York Yankees

After losing two consecutive games to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, the New York Yankees bounced back with a game 4 victory on Thursday evening.

By a score of 5-1, the pitching with stellar, and the offense did just enough to overcome a strong Tampa team. Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery was fantastic, allowing just one run and three hits. The bullpen also showed up to play, holding the Rays hitless and scoreless for the remainder of the game.

However, game five will feature both Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow, two lethal arms that can do damage against any team.

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Luke Voit expresses oozing confidence after game 4 win 

Three things the Yankees need to do to beat the Rays in game 5:

1.) Gerrit Cole needs to be masterful

In game one against the Rays, Cole lasted six innings and gave up three earned runs. He has a combined 2.75 ERA during exhibition play this year and will get the start on Friday night against Tampa. He is the Yankees’ best shot at winning the series and moving onto the Houston Astros, which seems like a series bound for destiny.

With four days of rest, Cole should be ready to go, and the Yankees need him to be at the top of his game if they want to walk away the victors.

2.) Take advantage of Tyer Glasnow’s short-rest and erratic pitching

Tyler Glasnow is a fantastic pitcher who heavily relies on his fastball. He averages 97.4 mph on his fastball and throws it 60.6% of the time. His second-best pitch is his curveball, which he throws 34.8% of the time and averages 91.5 mph. With only a few days rest, Glasnow could be on a pitch count, and the Yankees must remain patient at the plate and wait on his fastball.

Fatiguing him early on should decrease his velocity and give the Yankees a better chance of hitting his best pitch. Again, patience at the plate and staying disciplined is essential for a Yankee team that tends to strike out far too often and swing erratically at the first pitch.

3.) Start Kyle Higashioka

The Yankees have all but replaced Gary Sanchez during the postseason this year. Kyle Higashioka started the last two games and looked stellar on defense and offense.

When standing in the batter’s box, he is averaging .313 and slugging .500. His on-base + slugging is .853. Against the Rays in game 4, Higashioka had two hits, including an RBI single in the 8th inning to extend the lead to five.

Defensively, he has zero past balls, while Sanchez has 2 in just two games. He is a must-start for the Yankees, especially with Cole on the mound. He could be the catalyst once more for them on both sides of the ball.

PFL’s Peter Murray continues to land, promote big-time stars

The Professional Fighters League remains steadfast in building the best and most complete roster in all of mixed martial arts.

And one of the key figures in putting all of that together is Peter Murray.

Murray has already helped the PFL bring in the likes of Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison, Rory MacDonald and Ray Cooper III while continuing to scour countries all around the world for the next big thing.

Throughout his career, Murray has done just that. His list of “who’s who” includes boxing heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, MMA legend Georges St-Pierre, swimming icon Michael Phelps, current baseball stars Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw, and so many more.

“Our role in MMA is to reimagine and reinvent the sport — smart data, storytelling. Now, number two in the world,” Murray said in an interview with Combat Press. “The UFC is the leader in the sport. They’ve done the heavy lift. They’ve been doing it for 25 years.

“The similarities are: we have a global reach, and in production value, the PFL is the best. We are second to none.”

While preparing for the start of the 2021 season, the PFL has continued to expand this year. They released an OTT platform that showcases a large fight library along with releasing a number of new series spotlighting the likes of MacDonald, Chuck Liddell and others.

The PFL also plans to expand upon the use of SmartCage technology, which allows viewers to see real-time fighter performance data and analytics. They have also reached new deals in countries such as Russia and India.

“We’re locked and loaded on distribution and expansion outside of the (United States),” Murray said. “We’re creating stars.”

The 2021 PFL season is scheduled to begin in April to its conclusion with six fighters secure million-dollar checks at the end. The promotion is the only one in MMA that plays out through a regular season, playoff and championship format.

New York Yankees’ legend Whitey Ford dies at 91

New York Yankees, Whitey Ford

In a very important day for the New York Yankees, as they prepare to play Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the icons of the franchise passed away.

Whitey Ford, also known as The Chairman of the Board, died. He was perhaps the greatest icon among Yankees’ pitchers, and he spent his entire 16-year career with the Bronx Bombers.

According to what a family member told The Associated Press on Friday, Ford died at his Long Island home Thursday night. The cause was not known. He was 91 years old.

Born as Edward Charles Ford, he earned the nickname “Whitey” and it stuck for his entire life. He was a mainstay in the rotation in the fifties and sixties, one of the most successful period in the New York Yankees’ history.

A true Yankees’ great

The left-hander finished his playing career with a 2.75 ERA and 3170.1 innings pitched. He was a six-time World Series champion (1950, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962) and won the Cy Young award in 1961, the same season that featured an unforgettable race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris for the home run record.

Whitey led the American League in ERA two times and in wins three times. He has been a proud Hall of Famer since 1974.

“The Yankees are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford. Whitey spent his entire 16-year career as a Yankee. A 6x WS Champion and 10x All-Star, The Chairman of the Board was one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber. He will be deeply missed,” the Yankees wrote in their Twitter account.

In 2020, we have lost several all-time greats, such as Al Kaline, Tom Seaver, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. Our thoughts and condolences go to the Ford family in this difficult time.

BREAKING: Jets have presumptive positive COVID test per Adam Schefter

New York Jets, Adam Gase

Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic during this football season was never going to be an easy task. The NFL has now begun to see a spike in cases that is felt throughout the world. Yet,  the Tennessee Titans outbreak looks to be a little more contained as they had zero new positive cases. Along with the NFL seemingly getting a grip on the game schedule during a pandemic, the New York Jets have thrown a curveball into that premise.

Today, Adam Schefter has reported the New York Jets had a presumptive positive test.

What We Know

What is known is that the Jets had one of their routine tests come back positive today on One Jets Drive. Thus, all players and coaches were sent home, and the player who tested positive is awaiting the results of their retest, per Rich Cimini. The Arizona Cardinals were slated to fly out today for this Sunday’s contest, and that game now hinges on the results of this test. This positive test is considered presumptive as there have been false positives in the last week or so.

Still, the organization must act out of an abundance of caution to prevent a continued spread. One scenario that could come into play is reminiscent of this past Monday’s game between the Patriots and Chiefs. Despite a positive test, the Patriots kept the virus contained between Cam Newton and now All-Pro Corner Stephon Gilmore, and the team were still able to play their scheduled game.

Long Term Outlook

The Jets must now act with the same sense of fluidity that the entire league and country, for that matter, has operated under in order to prevent a larger spread. The players and coaches need to continue to take responsibility in order to finish the season. With that said, if cases continue to become more widespread nationally, the league may have to consider a bubble setup to finish out the season and the playoffs safely.

Hopefully, the Jets get everything in order within the organization, because no matter how critical you are of the team, I wish them nothing but the best in their health and potential COVID-19 recovery.

New York Giants Behind Enemy Lines: How to take advantage of the Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter, Dak Prescott

The New York Giants are gearing up to face off against the Dallas Cowboys in week five of the 2020 regular season.

Starting the year 0-4, the Giants are looking for their first win under new head coach Joe Judge. However, that has seemingly been difficult to come by, with the offense averaging a measly 11.8 points per game. However, the defense has been stellar in most facets, ranking fifth in yards allowed per game and 13th in points allowed.

Dallas offers an explosive offense, but the defense has been a mess through four weeks. They are allowing an average of 36.5 points per game, the worst in Dallas history.

Let’s take a look at what is going on behind the scenes for Dallas and how the Giants can take advantage.

TOP NEWS:

What is going on behind the scenes for Dallas, and how can the New York Giants take advantage?

1.) Conflict in the locker room

As stated above, the defense has been an absolute terror for the Cowboys. Last week against the Browns, they gave up 49 points, including 307 yards on the ground allowed, and 202 through the air.

Starting free safety, Xavier Woods stated that the defense lacks effort earlier this week. While he did say overall, the effort is there; there are specific players that you simply can’t go 100%. That isn’t what you want to say when your defense is struggling, and confidence is needed. This threw a wrench into the Cowboys culture and locker room spirits, and something the Giants must take advantage of in week five.

2.) Starting center is OUT

The Cowboys will be without Joe Looney, their starting center, in week five. After spraining his MCL in week four against the Browns, Dallas was forced to use fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz.

While Tyler was serviceable in the absence of Looney, the Giants have to take advantage of a newly injected player who doesn’t have the live reps during the regular season to prove his worth.

Creating disruption and forcing miscommunication at the center position is that is exactly how opponents have attacked the Giants in recent weeks with Nick Gates starting. Replicating that method should be Patrick Graham’s priority against Dallas.

3.) Secondary is a MESS

The secondary for the Cowboys is an absolute mess. As stated above, they are allowing 36.5 points per game, and their run defense is a big part of it.

However, they are missing their two starting corners in Anthony Brown and Chidobe Awuzie. That has left the corners extremely thin and should allow Daniel Jones to take advantage. With Jones failing to score a touchdown in over two games, this could be a redemption contest for the Giants, who desperately need to break out an offense and find their rhythm.

Coordinator Jason Garrett stated on Thursday that they are still trying to figure out their strengths, a baffling statement considering they have avoided using their players in advantageous ways.

4.) Tyrone Smith/La’el Collins, starting left/right tackles – OUT

The Cowboys will also be without their starting left and right tackles. This gives the Giants’ outside linebackers fantastic solo match-ups. Funneling pressured toward the A-gap is essential for the interior defensive line, which should give players like Lorenzo Carter, Kyler Fackrell, and Markus Golden 1V1 situations.

5.) Multiple pass rushers with bangs and bruises

The Cowboys went into this week with three of their best pass rusher‘s banged up. While they will likely be active for the contest, the Giants should try and overload them with power.

Their best pass rusher, Demarcus Lawrence, will likely try to take advantage of rookie Andrew Thomas, but his numbers this year have been shallow. He currently only has 11 tackles and hasn’t recorded a sack.

Hopefully, Thomas can do his job adequately and hold Lawrence in place. This would be a fantastic matchup for Thomas to establish his dominance and finally take that essential developmental step forward.