New York Giants: 3 ways the offense can attack a spotty Dallas defense

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) directs the offense in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the New York Giants have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, and there’s plenty of blame to go around for their demise. In 2019, the Giants were by no means an elite unit, as quarterback Daniel Jones threw 24 touchdown passes and over 3000 yards, but this year under Jason Garrett, his numbers have seen a massive drop off. He only has nine touchdown passes and 2714 yards over 13 appearances. He’s also been sacked 43 times, indicating a lack of WR separation and poor pass blocking.

The offense currently averages 17.1 points per game, and their only saving grace is the running game lead by Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris. Losing Saquon Barkley in week two against the Chicago Bears was a massive blow, but that has led us to a week 17 matchup against a surging Dallas team that averages 25.1 points per game. Finding ways to compensate for the lack of playmakers or injuries has been the storyline for the Giants on both sides of the ball, and it might be time to unleash the playbook for Garrett and put everything on the line.

Ultimately, Garrett’s playcalling selection has dwindled down to short-yardage options and quick reads, trying to avoid more Jones sacks and potential fumbles. Unfortunately, that has stalled the offense’s progression, and his inability to find receivers downfield has severely limited his potential. You could make the argument that the Giants simply don’t have the wide receivers to get the job done, but that doesn’t erase the fact that Darius Slayton had eight touchdown catches and over 700 yards in his rookie season. This season, he only has three touchdowns, as Garrett simply isn’t pushing the ball downfield and taking chances. That must change against Dallas if they want to keep up with their high-octane offense.

Three ways the New York Giants’ offense can find a spark:

1.) Daniel Jones surprise read-options

Daniel Jones was surprisingly conservative regarding his injury this week during a media session. He mentioned that he has been limited the past few games, sticking to the pocket and refraining from taking off running. Head coach Joe Judge said he was a bit forthcoming with the way he answered the questions and preferred he would’ve been a bit vaguer, but Jones has been moving around well during practice and could have been covering up their game plan.

I believe that DJ has the ability to activate read-options against Dallas, and we should see a little bit of his running mixed in after a few weeks of standing in the pocket like a traditional passer. This would really open up the field and force the Dallas to allocate more resources toward stopping Jones, which should help the receivers in the passing game.

2.) Dante Pettis

Last week, Pettis hauled in two catches for 33 yards, showing off some speed and agility from multiple spots on the field. One thing that I loved about Pettis was his desire to run second routes when Jones escaped the pocket.

This season, Giants receivers have often stopped running and trying to get open once the quarterback was flushed from the pocket unless it was a designed rollout. Pettis showed that extra bit of energy and heads up awareness to help DJ complete a pass downfield, and was one of his best throws of the season.

I would also like to see Dante return some kicks or punts since Dion Lewis has fumbled twice over the last three games on returns. Pettis was known for his ability as a return man in college, and while the 49ers didn’t manage to extract his value and potential, the Giants should offer him an opportunity in week 17 since he could be a potential receiving option for them in 2021.

3.) Target downfield against spotty Dallas secondary

While the Cowboys’ defense has been playing better as of late, their secondary is still spotty and can be taken advantage of. Their run defense is where they really struggle, so expect the Giants to rely predominately on that portion of their offense. They only average about 228.7 yards through the air allowed per game, which indicates a tougher matchup for the Giants in their passing attack. However, as we know, establishing the run opens up the passing game and forces defenses to commit to the box.

The problem is, opposing teams have been playing cover 1 and cover 0 to stop the Giants because they simply don’t respect the receivers’ abilities to get open in man coverage. If the receivers are unable to get separation and give Daniel Jones some solid options, the offense will again be trounced.

Pushing receivers downfield on verticals and taking shots against man coverage is exactly what the Giants should be trying to do. However, it also relies on Jones’ ability to progress through his reads and find open receivers. The playcalling is the focal point here, and the Giants are going to need to score over 20 points to keep up with Dallas in this contest.