Giants: Cowboys could be missing 2 key pieces in Week 1

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are primed and ready for their Week 1 face-off against the Dallas Cowboys in the 2023 regular season. With almost all of their squad in good health, it’s shaping up to be a head-to-head you won’t want to miss. However, the Cowboys have a few injury concerns that could tilt the balance in favor of Big Blue.

Health Status: Giants at Full Strength, Cowboys Not So Much

Big Blue is stepping onto the field in robust health. Only seven players were listed as “limited” during Wednesday’s practice, and all are expected to be in full form by Sunday night. In contrast, the Cowboys have several players nursing injuries, most notably starting left guard Tyler Smith and safety Donovan Wilson.

Tyler Smith’s Questionable Status: A Potential Advantage for Giants

Tyler Smith is an indispensable part of the Cowboys’ offensive line, and he’s expected to take on a crucial role as the starting left guard this season. Last year, as a rookie first-round pick from Tulsa, Smith impressed many by logging 1,274 total snaps and surrendering just six sacks and 40 total pressures. He even displayed elite skills as a left tackle in several games.

Smith has recently been contending with a hamstring injury, casting doubt over his participation in the upcoming game. If Smith is sidelined, it could mean good news for the Giants, whose interior defense is bolstered by powerhouses like Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence.

A compromised Dallas line would grant the Giants a considerable edge, particularly in rushing the passer and stifling the Cowboys’ run game. As of now, Smith is likely being kept out of practice as a precaution, but his availability remains uncertain.

Donovan Wilson’s Rehab: Cowboys’ Safety Depth Tested

Donovan Wilson is another Cowboy who’s been on the mend, recovering from a calf injury sustained during training camp in late July. Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy signaled that Wilson is nearing a return, but for the moment, he’s not game-ready.

Though the Cowboys have sufficient safety depth with the likes of Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker, they’ll be stretched thin when facing the Giants’ speedy boundary receivers. Wilson’s absence, therefore, could make things a tad easier for the Giants’ offensive unit.

Injuries Could Tilt the Scale

While Big Blue appears raring to go, the Cowboys’ injury concerns could provide an unexpected advantage for the Giants. As we count down the days to this highly anticipated Week 1 showdown, keep an eye on these key players’ statuses—because they just might tip the scales.

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