New York Giants: A Thursday Night win could keep playoff hopes alive

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants‘ season got off to a disastrous 0-5 start. Thankfully, the Giants were able to pick up their first win of the season against the division-rival Washington Football Team on Sunday. Now, at 1-5, the Giants are actually still very much alive in the playoff hunt.

The NFC East is laughably bad. The Giants’ division has a combined record of 5-18-1. The Giants sit one game back from first place in their division. Currently, the Dallas Cowboys own the title with a 2-4 record. If New York can pick up a clutch win on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, they can move into first place in the NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys will need to lose as well if the Giants are going to move into first place in the east. Dallas is traveling to Washington this week to play another divisional game. Washington’s lone win of the season came against the rival Eagles. With a Dallas loss and a New York win, the Giants would find themselves with the same record as Dallas, 2-5, at the end of the week.

But beating Philadelphia will be no easy task for the Giants on Thursday night. If the Giants want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to come out of Philadelphia with a win.

The Road To First Place In The NFC East

The Giants will travel to Philadelphia to play their third divisional-matchup in a row on Thursday night. A primetime game against Philadelphia is typically a daunting task for the Giants, but things could be different this time around with the Giants coming off their first win of the season.

Luckily for the Giants, things have also gone from bad to worse in Dallas. The Cowboys are playing without their starting quarterback, Dak Prescott, after he suffered a season-ending injury in Week Five. Now, after the team’s embarrassing Week Six loss to the Arizona Cardinals, players have spoken out against their own coaching staff.

This is the perfect moment for Washington to pick up a win and throw its name in the playoff race. Washington is coming off of a disappointing 19-20 loss to the Giants. They fought hard and nearly won the game, but ultimately lost on a failed two-point conversion after an impressive comeback.

With Dallas hitting a low point and Washington showing week-to-week improvement, the Football Team could get its second win of the season in Week Seven. This would put Washington in a tie for first place in the NFC East. If the Giants win this week too, then there will be a three-way tie at the top of the division. In this scenario, it is essentially the start of a new season for every member of the NFC East. The playoff race would begin in Week Seven between every single team in the NFC East.

If the Giants lose this week, it seems like their playoff hopes will be over. Considering how they played the first five weeks of the season, the Giants are not likely to go on a big winning streak to rise to the top of the division. No 0-5 team has ever made the playoffs in the NFL. Winning on Thursday will be the Giants’ first step towards making history.

New York Giants: Why the offense could break out in week five

The New York Giants are about to play their first division-rival game of the 2020 NFL season on Sunday. At 4:25 p.m., the Giants and Cowboys will kick off their Week Five matchup in Dallas.

Through the first four weeks of the season, the Giants’ offense has been one of the worst units in the NFL. The Giants are averaging just 11.8 points per game on offense, the worst in the NFL by about 5 points. New York has not scored a touchdown in their last two games and never even found their way into the red zone in Week Three.

That pattern should change this week, as the Giants are about to face one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Playing the Cowboys could be exactly what the Giants need to see their offense break out this season.

The Cowboys’ Shaky Defense

The Dallas Cowboys’ defense is arguably the worst in the NFL right now. Through four games, the Cowboys’ defense ranks as one of the worst units against both the pass and the run. Opposing offenses are averaging 430.5 yards per game against Dallas, the third-highest total in the NFL.

The Cowboys’ opponents have been raking in a serious amount of points. Dallas has allowed opposing offenses to average 36.5 points per game against them. Against the Cleveland Browns in Week Four, Dallas allowed their opponents to rush for 307 yards. Dallas fell to 1-3 on the season after their loss to Cleveland, just one game better than the Giants who sit at 0-4.

New York is in desperate need of a win. Unfortunately, their offense has not been able to do enough to get them across the finish line, despite the Giants’ defense being one of the NFL’s top units through four weeks. New York has allowed only 24 points per game. They have also allowed only 328.3 total yards per game (fifth-best in the NFL).

But the Giants’ defense will face a tall task in Dallas this week. The Cowboys’ offense has somehow been just as good as their defense is bad. Dallas is currently averaging 31.5 points per game and a league-high 509.5 total yards per game.

This game is likely to be a shootout or a blowout. The Giants’ offense will need to keep up with Dallas’ high-powered offensive machine. Fortunately, New York has a favorable matchup on offense, facing Dallas’ struggling defense. If the Giants’ offense can exploit this matchup, Giants fans could finally see their team break out and put some points on the board.

Can the New York Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys in week 5?

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

After starting the 2020 regular season 0-4, the New York Giants are preparing to face off against the Dallas Cowboys in week five. As always, this is an anticipated matchup between two divisional rivals, but the Giants haven’t been able to overcome a strong Dallas team in recent years.

Both have their deficiencies, and they are exact opposites of one another. The Cowboys currently ranked third in total offense, averaging 31.5 points per game. They rank first in yards per game at 509.5. Comparably to the Giants, they are head and shoulders above the competition.

Big Blue currently ranks 31st in the NFL in yards per game at 278. They are last in points per game with 11.8. Only the Jets are better with 16.3, which is a significant difference considering it’s an average of four games.

Defense is where Dallas struggles, offering a slight glimpse of hope for a Giants’ offense that has been nonexistent.

How the New York Giants can overcome the Dallas Cowboys:

It won’t be easy taking down Dallas, considering their lights out offense. Defensively, if the Giants can’t get in the end zone, they will lose this game by a landslide. They held a superb Los Angeles Rams team to just 17 points in week four, but it would’ve been less if the offense was able to muster any momentum.

Daniel Jones has been running for his life behind a spotty offensive line, and things aren’t going to get much better with the strength of their schedule. The running game finally picked it up in week four, posted 138 yards on the ground. The passing game has been a major issue, which has forced Jones to utilize his legs too frequently. The weakness for Dallas lies in their secondary, with patchwork defenders holding down the fort.

With the Cowboys allowing 36.5 points per game, they have re-tooled their unit with aging stars and skeptical defenders. They are the single-worst scoring defense in team history, so far.

Against the Browns in week four, they allowed 307 rushing yards, and that was without Nick Chubb for a majority of the contest. Russell Wilson put up five touchdowns against Dallas in week three, showing their lackluster secondary.

The Giants have the talent to operate at an adequate level, and Dallas will give them an opportunity to finally break free from their schematic chains. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett must get more creative, as they have seemingly utilized a base, day one scheme with a bit of creativity sprinkled in on occasion. Every play needs to be planned and executed to perfection, but the Giants are a long way from perfecting that reality.

At the very least, scoring a few touchdowns would be beneficial and provide some positive momentum. Dak Prescott has already logged 12 touchdowns through four games, meaning the Giants have a tall task ahead of them on defense.

Do I think the Giants can beat Dallas, yes, but I don’t feel confident the offense can put up more than 20 points regardless. It really boils down to winning the turnover differential and winning the time of possession.

New York Giants: Who’s primed for a better year Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott?

The NFC East contains two running back’s that have top-five potential in 2020. New York Giants‘ Saquon Barkley and Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott are the two players that will compete side-by-side for their establishment as the best back in the NFC East.

The question: Who will have a better year and why?

1.) Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott is going through some major changes on offense in 2020. The Cowboys replaced head coach Jason Garrett with Mike McCarthy. Elliott had performed extremely well under Garrett in previous years, but the team did keep Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator. Their offense was focused primarily around the passing game in 2019, which took away from Elliott’s production as it was the first season in his career he didn’t lead the NFL in rushing yards per game.

The change in scheme and now the drafting of wide receiver CeeDee Lamb should not assist in Elliott’s efficiency moving forward. He will be more valued as a blocker and receiver than as a running back. They have a similar style to the Kansas City Chiefs, who rely on passes and intermediate throws to move the chains. To give you a good example of how the Dallas’ offense could change with McCarthy as their head coach when Ezekiel Elliott joined the team in 2016, their offense ranked 1st, 5th, 10th, and 8th and rush attempts per game.

Comparably, Mike McCarthy’s offenses ranked 29th, 27th, and 30nd during that same time span.

We can project that Elliott will have a far superior year than he has enjoyed in the past, which should give Saquon Barkley a heavy advantage.

VIDEO: Virtual New York Giants legends battle Dallas in Madden NFL 20 simulation

RADIO.COM hosted a virtual showdown between New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys legends at a pixelated version of MetLife Stadium.

The ongoing pandemic has eliminated a lot of the norms of daily life that we take for granted. Close games between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys have apparently managed to become an exception. RADIO.COM hosted a virtual showdown between legends of the Giants and Cowboys in a simulation presented on EA Sports’ Madden NFL 20 video game. The internet radio platform and music recommender is a property of Entercom, which owns both WFAN and 105.3 The Fan (KRLD-FM), the respective flagship radio stations of New York and Dallas respectively.

Replicas of players from each of the respective teams’ history, spanning over 150 combined seasons of football, partook in the simulation, which Dallas won by a 23-20 final thanks to a Dan Bailey field goal with 18 seconds to go.

The Giants, dressed in their home unforms worn from 1976 through 1998, jumped out to an early lead that they held for a majority of the first half. Emlen Tunnell intercepted a Roger Staubach pass on Dallas’ first play from scrimmage. Eli Manning needed only three plays to capitalize, finding Odell Beckham Jr. for an eight-yard score. Between Bailey field goals, Manning threw his second touchdown pass on the end of an 11-play, 75-yard drive, this one going to Jeremy Shockey from seven yards out. Manning was bought some time in the pocket by an offensive that consisted of Rosey Brown, Shaun O’Hara, Mel Hein, Chris Snee, and David Diehl before finding Shockey for a score that brought digital MetLife Stadium to its feet.

Dallas ventured into the Giants’ red zone, but Corey Webster’s interception took a touchdown reception from Michael Irvin. However, the expected momentum solidification never came. Manning found Beckham on the Giants’ next offensive play, but a fumble forced by DeMarcus Ware was picked up by fellow linebacker Sean Lee for a touchdown. Lawrence Tynes booted a 47-yard field goal to slightly inflate the Giants’ lead, but Emmitt Smith gave the Cowboys their first lead on a 75-yard scoring rush just as the two-minute warning commenced.

The Giants got back to the Dallas red zone with no timeouts, but Shockey’s attempt to score a last-second touchdown after breaking several tackles was thwarted by Byron Jones, who stopped the tight end just short of the goal line as time expired.

Both team’s defensive stars rose to the occasion in the second half. Tunnell, Mark Collins (who was wearing No. 24 in contrast to his traditional No. 25) and Michael Strahan were among those with sacks for the Giants, but they only mustered another Tynes field goal on offense. After Bailey’s fateful boot, the Giants’ brief counter got to Dallas’ 40 after Manning found Amani Toomer for a big gain. However, the virtual New York brain trust opted for a win rather than a deep Tynes attempt, and Manning’s prayer with Shockey in the vicinity fell incomplete to end the game.

Toomer earned 143 yards on 10 receptions, while Manning finished the game 39-of-53 with 352 and the two scores.

The modern-day, human incarnations of the Giants and Cowboys are currently set to face off on October 11 and January 3.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

How the Dallas Cowboys Landed in the NFC East

51 years ago today that the NFL-AFL merger took form when the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers of the 16-team NFL agreed to join the AFL to form the 13-team American Football Conference. It was also the same day in which the new NFL agreed on a playoff format that introduced some crazy concept of a wild-card entrant from each conference.

The following 1970 season, the two leagues would operate under the NFL shield and its commissioner, Pete Rozelle. The league would be divided into two 13-team conferences with three divisions isn each conference.

How the league would allocate the teams into which divisions was a crapshoot. In the new NFC, There was an abundance of east coast teams and not enough in the western time zones. Five proposed breakdowns were devised, and legend has it, written on a pieces of paper and put into a flower vase. Rozelle’s secretary reached into the vase and randomly chose the breakdown that would be the framework of the modern NFC as we know it.

Going in, there were several constants. The New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins were in the NFC East in each of the five proposals as were the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers in the Central and the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers in the West. The other six teams were all over the map in the other four proposals.

Four of the five proposals had the Minnesota Vikings in the East and the Dallas Cowboys in either the Central or the West.

So, when you question how the NFL stuck the Dallas Cowboys in the East, it was a random thing – a one in five shot. The proposal that was picked ended them up in the East along with the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the first decade after the merger, the Cowboys won the division seven times and Cardinals won it twice. The Redskins broke up the party in 1972 with George Allen’s Over-the-Hill gang made their Super Bowl run, losing to Don Shula’s perfect Miami Dolphins.

Between 1970 and 1980, the Cowboys beat the Giants 18 of 22 games.

Dallas has won the NFC East 23 times since Rozelle’s secretary made that fateful draw. Hence the hatred from the other four teams. What would have happened if she picked one of the other four pieces of paper?

One had the NFC as a four team set (NYG, WAS, PHI, MIN). The other three had combinations of Minnesota with Atlanta, St. Louis and Detroit – three teams that were nowhere near the juggernaut that Tom Landry’s Cowboys were in the 70s or Jimmy Johnson’s teams of the 90s would become.

For the record, the Eagles won their first NFC East title in 1980 under head coach Dick Vermeil. They have gone on to win the division 10 more times.

The Giants were the only team in the East without a division title until they finally broke through in 1986. They have eight total division titles as do the Redskins.

The Cardinals stayed in the division even after they moved from St. Louis to Phoenix in 1988. They were finally moved to the NFC West in 2002 when the NFL expanded to 32 teams with four divisions of four teams in each conference. They only won the East those two years (1974-75) in the 70s.

 

Are the Cowboys Pursuing Trade For New York Jet’s Cornerstone?

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The Cowboys went down to the wire with the Jets at the trade deadline in negotiations for star safety Jamal Adams. The New York Jets wanted a 1st Round Pick and 2 Seconds. The Cowboys wouldn’t budge on their offer of a 1st and a day 3 selection. The Jets kept Jamal and after briefly being a cause of unrest among the Jets faithful, he went right back to bringing the energy to the defense and team as a whole.

Now, the New York Jets are in an offseason where they’ve spent a small amount of money on short term deals. They’ve invested in the offensive line and are seemingly going to invest a bulk of their draft picks into the offense as well. The Jets are preparing to rebuild this team into a contender in the future, not next season. This means they need to keep the talent they do have on defense for the long haul, so the Jets need to either lock up Jamal for the future or trade him and get compensation for him.

What Could A Deal Look Like?

I and many Jets fans would prefer he remains in Green and White, but the Cowboys are reportedly monitoring the situation between the Jets and Jamal and may be prepping to attempt a trade again. If the Cowboys did make an offer, it would likely include their 1st rounder, their 2nd or 3rd rounder and maybe another pick. The Jets would hypothetically then have a selection to add one of the top offensive linemen at 11 and add a receiver with the Cowboys selection. This would give them much more flexibility and help build for the long term with more guys on less expensive deals.

Is It Really Worth It?

Although some people discredit Jamal’s impact because of how the safety position is valued, he’s more than just a typical safety. Adams is an absolute monster on defense. He led the team in sacks last year with Jordan Jenkins. He’s also masterful in coverage and tackling. Adams is not just a force on the field but also in the locker room. Adams actively recruits players, is the voice of the team and the captain of the defense. He’s well regarded within the Jets community and the league as a whole. The Jets struck gold with Jamal Adams. No matter who they could add with the Cowboys picks, those players couldn’t have the same impact Jamal has had. Jamal Adams needs to remain a Jet, not just for now, but for a very long time.

New York Giants: An Extra Bad Year To Be Extra Bad

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

The New York Giants, once again, are eliminated from playoff contention. The Giants are 2-10, and no matter how many games they win between now and the end of the year, their season is over. This will be the third year in a row that the Giants finish with ten or more losses and without a spot in the playoffs.

This year, though, the Giants are extra bad. Unfortunately, their division is, too. The NFC East is once again the NFC Least. If the Giants were even an average team this season, they would be in playoff contention. 2019 was a really bad year for the Giants to be really bad.

The NFC Least

The NFC East has a combined record of 16-33. Not a single team in the division has a winning record. The Dallas Cowboys are currently leading the division with a 6-7 record after a bad loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. The Philadelphia Eagles are 5-7, one game behind, and their next matchup is against one of the worst teams in the NFL (the Giants).

If only the Giants had been average and had been able to win a few of the easy games on their schedule this season. They are eliminated from the playoffs with a 2-10 record and only have three more losses than the team winning their division. Even the Washington Redskins, who are 3-9, have yet to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

The New York Giants were .500 in September. After Week 4, New York was 2-2. It has been all downhill from that point on. The Giants squandered their playoff chances and are now on an 8-game losing streak. For the first time in franchise history, the Giants failed to win a game in the months of October and November.

The Giants are historically bad this year. If only they had chosen any other year to be this bad. Of course, it had to be this year: the year their division is historically bad, too. This should serve as a wake-up call to the New York Giants. They need to make significant changes in the future.

New York Jets: Containing The Cowboys Key Pieces Is Essential

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys’ defense is young and talented. To go along with that, so much of the preparation and headlines regarding this game have been centered around Sam Darnold and the New York Jets offense. Reportedly Adam Gase hadn’t been using the regular playbook in order to not over expose it without the franchise guy at the helm. Now Darnold is back and the Jets offense is going to be expected to come out and perform a hell of a lot better than they have to this point.

The Jets can win this game on offense by scoring points but the Jets can easily control the momentum in this game with their defense. Their defense will not only get a lift from Sam being back on offense but they also get Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland back. Jenkins and Copeland are both two of the best edge rushers on this squad and their additions will help immediately. The biggest key to this game is going to be controlling the 4 key pieces of the Cowboy offense.

Amari Cooper:

Despite being injured Amari Cooper has been great for the Cowboys this year. He’s been a true number one wide receiver for this squad. The Jets are going to have to find someone capable of covering him in this ballgame. The best case would be a swapping of Hairston, Johnson and Roberts throughout the game. Allowing them to rotate may be able to contain Cooper. The added benefit of his injury will assist the corners to keep up with him.

Michael Gallup:

The big bodied receiver is a huge part of the Dallas offense. He’s a mismatch and hard to cover. Brian Poole has been the Jets most reliable corner this season and I think this should be his matchup all day. Gallup has been able to torch just about every defense since Thanksgiving last year. He’s got it all figured out now and he’s a dangerous weapon. If the Jets can keep him in control that’s huge.

Ezekiel Elliot:

The Jets run defense has been solid and their front 7, despite injuries has been pretty good. This matchup is evidently a rough one but with two of their starting offensive linemen questionable and a solid defense this matchup could be a lot more in favor of the Jets than expected. The key is gonna have to be if Tyron Smith and La’el Collins play. If they don’t then this could be a big thing for the Jets.

Dak Prescott:

Dak is a glorified game manager. However, he’s also a bonafide leader. He’s by far not one of the most talented QBs in the game. His leadership skills and above average skill set make him a good QB. Pressure rattles Prescott and the Jets will be able to apply that this time around. Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland are excellent edge rushers and will hopefully apply pressure and rattle Dak or else it could be a long day.

If the Jets offense is even remotely good and the defense can contain Dallas than this is a game the Jets could fare better in than expected. If the key pieces are electric than it could be a long day. Gregg Williams better be ready because if he and his defense aren’t prepared it’ll be a terrible loss.P

New York Giants: Eli Manning Needs To Take More Risks

The New York Giants desperately need the old Eli Manning to take over the imposter who wears #10 for the Giants. The quarterback who would frustrate fans by forcing balls down the field, but also energize his team by taking risks to generate big plays down the field. They need the quarterback who took risks, hung in the pocket and let his receivers make plays down the field. The organization needs that guy back for them to salvage this season.

Eli has become too conservative. He reads the field looking for the safe throw first before looking at his deep read. The defense is going to be poor all year, he has to take shots for the Giants to compete in 2019. Last season, Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers all had a higher INT % than Eli Manning.

There has been a lot of scrutiny on the strength of Eli’s arm, but what good is it to have a healthy arm if you aren’t going to use it? On Sunday against the Cowboys, Eli attempted a deep pass (20+ yards down the field) on only 6.8% of his dropbacks, according to Profootballfocus metrics.

After rewatching every non-screen pass play called through the first three quarters, it became evident Eli left a lot of opportunities out there for the Giants. Let’s dive into the film.

Film Review

Q2 8:38 – 3rd and 12

The Giants struggled to convert third downs all game, converting only two out of eleven third-down opportunities. Midway through the second quarter, the Giants faced a third and 12 from their own 33. Dallas left the deep middle of the field exposed, if Eli holds the ball a half-second longer, he has the time to hit Russell Sheppard on a deep crossing route. Instead, he opts to check down to Ellison and the Giants punt.

Q2 1:13 – 1st and 10

The two-minute drill was unwatchable. The Giants gained 31 yards in the 1:04 they had the ball. The Cowboys played cover 3 on this play, which should have been advantageous to the Giants given they ran a flat curl combination to Eli’s left. The cornerback in the slot to Eli’s left should be Eli’s first read to dictate where he wants to go with the ball. As soon as the slot corner sprints to the flat, Eli knows he’ll have the curl route, which he did. Instead, the ball comes out quickly over the middle for a short gain.

Q2 0:54 – 2nd and 4

The Giants dial up the perfect play design against the Cowboys covers 2 defense. To Eli’s right, Engram sprints to the flat to occupy the corner, giving Sheppard room to make a play over top between the corner and the safety. This should have been Eli’s first read, but once again he gets rid of the ball too quickly and doesn’t take advantage of what the coverage is giving him.

Q2 0:30 – 1st and 10

This was one of Eli’s most egregious misses. He completes an accurate ball to Latimer on the sideline but misses a great opportunity to hit Engram up the seam matched against a linebacker. It’s possible he was spooked by the safety in the middle of the field, but given how much time was left in the half and where the Giants were on the field, this was a risk worth taking.

Q3 11:12 – 2nd and 9

On this play-action rollout to Eli’s right, it takes him too long to come off his first few reads along the sideline. If he had looked up, he would have seen a wide-open Rhett Ellison in the back of the end zone. These kind of misses are inexcusable.

Q3 8:39 – 2nd and 3

First, let’s give the Giants credit for actually sending Barkley on a wheel route and trying to free him up with a pick play. Eli has a fairly clean pocket to throw from, but seems to panic and get rid of the ball too early before Barkley was expecting it. If he tries to hit Barkley in stride further down the sideline, this is likely a touchdown.

Conclusion

The Giants desperately need Eli to elevate the offense. 2011 Eli wouldn’t have won Sunday against the Cowboys, but 2011 Eli can carry this team to a wild card birth. The offensive line looks strong, he finally has as running game and a few weapons among his receivers and tight ends. If Eli forces a pick downfield next Sunday you will hear a lot of groans from the fans in the stands, but that could also be a signal that Eli is back and ready to elevate this offense one last time.