As the New York Giants prepare to face off against a seemingly degraded version of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, one thing comes to mind, who will be the most influential?
The Cowboys have several weak spots on the team, and that’s where the Giants will look to throw the most weapons at. Right off the bat, we can name Saquon Barkley as one of the top three key players against Dallas. He will help break down their defensive line and keep them honest. Additionally, he’s a new asset to the team and not a player they have dealt with before.
The Cowboys tend to utilize linebackers Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith as A-gap blitzers. Their blitzing scheme will be in full effect on Sunday, especially with right tackle Ereck Flowers starting after a disastrous week 1 performance.
How the Giants will counteract the Cowboys’ efforts:
The key to stopping the Giants is to put pressure on Eli Manning, and that won’t be very difficult. Expect head coach Pat Shurmur to adjust to that reality and find an effective way of getting the ball out of Eli’s hands quickly. That idea attests to the heavy usage of Barkley on the ground and in the passing game. He will be slated for a heavy workload in Dallas.
The second player is inevitably Damon Harrison. The Giants’ best defensive lineman will have a busy day against one of the league’s top running backs in Ezekiel Elliott. Harrison will face off against Cowboys’ backup center, who has taken the place of Travis Frederick. The fill in center allowed significant pressure against the Carolina Panthers last weekend, and it won’t get any easier with Harrison.
If the Giants can contain Elliott and put pressure on Dak Prescott, the defense will have done their job effectively.
Thirdly, Ereck Flowers will be arguably the most influential player for the Giants in Dallas. His performance must elevate from last week, despite battling against Demarcus Lawrence. His match-ups will only continue to pose challenges for him in weeks 3 and 4, so showing a but more residency will go a long way.
In fairness to Ereck Flowers, he has MASTERED the "exacerbated arm raise straight into helping Eli off the ground" move. Look at how fluid that is. Essentially one motion. pic.twitter.com/DFTkinyRvP
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) September 12, 2018
Take a look at this clip here… Flowers is beat easily off the edge with a simple stutter move and bull-rush. His balance is atrocious and is exploited throughout the game. If you watch his feet, they’re far too close together and his upper-body is off-center. He needs to create more of a base and stay closer to RG Patrick Omameh.
Shift your focus over to LG Will Hernandez for a split second. Notice how he helps Jon Halapio by giving the nose tackle a shove and then moves over to the stunt tackle. He does a great job of handling his man after providing help for his teammate.