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.

New York Giants News, 9/8 – How to watch Giants Vs Dallas and key matcups

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

It’s gameday, everybody! What a long offseason it has been for us Giants fans, enduring the middle section of a rebuild but with plenty of talent to be competitive during the 2019 season.

The rookies on the roster will play integral roles on both the offensive and defense, but primary the latter where the secondary and defensive line has been rebuilt from scratch. Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker, two of the Giants’ rookies, will start against the Dallas Cowboys. We can image the jitters they will endure as they walk out onto the field in Arlington, preparing to face off in one of the league’s more exciting rivalries.

Here’s where to find the game on Sunday:

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: FOX

Line: Cowboys by 7

Reddit streams: NFL Games

Key Matchups:

1.) Dexter Lawrence Vs. Defensive line

I anticipate the Giants moving Lawrence around in the trenches and trying to create mismatches to open up holes for stunts and blitzes. He will be a crucial cog in the game plan and will need to be a force in stopping the run.

2.) Eli Manning Vs. pass rushers

We all know Manning will look to Saquon Barkley to covert on short passes and dump-offs. If the defense breaks through the offensive line, it’s almost inevitable that Barkley will be the recipient. There’s no linebacker in the league that can cover the dynamic back; however, the Cowboys will game plan around him. The Giants need Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram to pick up the slack.

3.) DeAndre Baker Vs. Michael Gallup

With Baker facing off against Gallup, the Cowboys No. 2 wideout, I expect them to throw towards the rookie (Baker) early and often. Exposing his weaknesses in the first game of his professional career will undoubtedly be part of their game plan. Given the Georgia product can stand tall and prevent any big plays, the Giants will be in a good position to lock up Dallas’ pass catchers and force Zeke to carry the load.

Nonetheless–

Your top Giants news:

David Howman – Cowboys scouting report: Scouting the New York Giants defense

George Willis – Giants looking to Sterling Shepard in new WR era

Dan Benton – Giants’ Daniel Jones the No. 1 ranked rookie entering Week 1
Ralph Vacchiano – New York Giants 2019 Season Preview: Players to watch and record prediction
Alexander Wilson – New York Giants: What has Dave Gettleman’s biggest accomplishment been so far?

New York Giants News, 9/5 – Giants get good Ezekiel Elliott news

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The Giants are preparing to face off against the Dallas Cowboys, and despite the hopes and prayers that their star running back would miss the week one matchup, he signed a $90 million extension on Wednesday to solidify his place to start the regular season.

The hopes that rookie running back Tony Pollard would be the featured back came to a crashing halt when Elliott flew back to Dallas in an attempt to finalize the extension. That attempt became a reality, and the Giants will now have to stop one of the league’s premier backs.

However, given the fact that Elliott has missed a majority of the off-season, he will likely be on a snap count against the Giants for week one. While he did participate in Wednesday’s practice, reports have stated that he will probably only touch the ball 20-25 times, which gives the Giants an advantage.

Stopping is Ezekiel will take a massive effort from the Giants’ defensive line, a young group that has yet to mesh and gain legitimate experience during live action. Rookie interior lineman, Dexter Lawrence, will be a focal point of the defense and will need to elevate his game if the team is to be successful against a potent Dallas offense.

Clogging the trenches and drawing double teams will allow the linebackers to plug holes and ensure Elliott does not run all over them with just a half week of preparation.

Nonetheless—

Your top Giants news:

Mike Vaccaro – Eli Manning’s intimidating shadow doesn’t stop at Daniel Jones

Dave Halprin – Cowboys vs. Giants injury report: Ezekiel Elliott practices, Zack Martin limited
Ed Valentine – Pat Shurmur press conference: “The rubber is going to hit the road.”
John Fennelly – How might the Giants handle Saquon Barkley’s next contract?
Alexander Wilson – New York Giants top breakout candidate for the 2019 season

Should The New York Giants Make Saquon Barkley The Highest Paid Running Back One Day?

Zeke’s contract raises the question: Should the New York Giants do the same with Saquon Barkley?

After an entire training camp of holding out, Ezekiel Elliott won his power struggle against Jerry Jones, becoming the highest-paid running back in the NFL. On September 4th, he signed his 6-year extension including $90 million dollars in new money, $50 million in guarantees. His annual salary stands at $15 million dollars.

The New York Giants just enjoyed a fabulous rookie season from their young running back but before we know it, his time will come to be the highest-paid running back as well.

There’s no question of whether it will happen, but should the Giants be the team to make Barkley the highest-paid running back?

Looking at Todd Gurley and the Rams as an example is unsettling, considering Gurley’s tendon flare-up last season.

Gurley only had 23 total carries in his last 2 games before missing the last 2 games of the season. The team even had CJ Anderson shoulder the load in the playoffs when the games mattered most. The backup running back helped the Rams get to the Super Bowl but he wasn’t enough to take down Tom Brady and the Patriots. Todd Gurley only had 11 touches in the Super Bowl due to his injury, leaving Anderson as the primary back.

The ultra-talented running back also affected the passing game. When Jared Goff had Todd Gurley for the first 15 weeks he passed for at least 300 yards 9 times. In the 5 games where Gurley either didn’t play or wasn’t himself, Goff didn’t reach the 300-yard mark once. He also threw just 6 touchdowns without Gurley at 100%. Before that, he threw 27 touchdowns in 14 games with Gurley healthy.

While the running back proved to be vital to the success of this offense, he just couldn’t last as long as they needed him. This unfortunate situation transpired just months after the team signed Todd Gurley to a multi-year deal paying him over $14 million dollars annually.

The Businessman Paid a Running Back

Jerry Jones has been known to be a very successful businessman, leading the Cowboys to become the most valuable football franchise in the world. He was recently inducted into the Hall Of Fame as one of the league’s most successful owners.

He also just paid $90 million to a position that “doesn’t matter” according to many. Clearly, he doesn’t view running back as a worthless asset. He probably shouldn’t think that way either, considering his Super Bowl titles consisted of Emmitt Smith running his way to victory.

As far as his current team, Jones probably sees Elliott in the same light. When the running back was suspended for 6 games in 2017 Dak Prescott didn’t look so good. He went from winning nearly every game he played to falling into a 3-3 record without Zeke carrying the load. Dak’s efficient passing stats fell to an embarrassing 5-9 touchdown to interception ratio during the 6-game ban. For a point of reference, he only threw 4 interceptions in the first 9 games with Elliott on the field.

How many teams can field a 4th round rookie quarterback and win 13 games? In 2016, Dak Prescott led the team to 13 victories and his passing stats are alarming for such a high success rate. He only had 2 games with 300 passing yards. The rookie only had to throw the ball 30 times in 9 games. With all due respect to his ability to manage a game at a young age, Dak wasn’t the reason they were winning games. Ezekiel Elliott rushing for over 100 yards per game, with a total of 1,000 rushing yards on first downs alone was the reason they were winning games. Any offense should be efficient and ahead of the chains when there were 1,000 rushing yards on first downs alone throughout the season.

In the 2018 playoffs, Elliott ran all over the Seahawks for 137 rushing yards, leading the team to victory. When the team couldn’t run the ball well against the Rams a week later, Dak didn’t have an answer. The team fell 20-22 with Zeke’s 47 total rushing yards.

Here’s another situation where a running back is vital to the success of an offense.

Gurley and Elliot are the two running backs that are paid upwards of $14 million dollars annually so far. Will Saquon Barkley be worth a similar price for the Giants?

We don’t know how the Elliott deal will go for the Cowboys. The Rams are only 1 year into their new deal with Gurley. So far it hasn’t gone well with health being the reason. It’s important to note Saquon Barkley doesn’t have the injury history that Gurley has. The Rams running back has suffered ACL injuries in the past leading to his tendinitis. Barkley hasn’t sustained any significant injuries and hasn’t missed a game since his freshman year at Penn State.

So far, the team doesn’t have a sample size of time Saquon has missed and how it affects the offense. What we do know is he accounted for OVER 50% of the team’s total yards as a rookie. He also helped Eli cut down his interception total to a career-low of 11. A quarterback who has thrown 14+ interceptions in 11 seasons. Barkley also had over 700 receiving yards out of the backfield, providing number two wide receiver numbers on top of his 1,307 rushing yards.

The Giants should re-sign him one day, but what will Saquon Barkley cost?

With the current cost of an elite running back standing at $15 million annually, The Giants are looking at a hefty price to keep Barkley once his rookie contract expires.

Based on the young talent’s immediate success and classy approach, you can plan on the team further investing in him, if selecting him second overall didn’t say enough.

The good news is that there’s arguably only two elite running backs yet to be paid before Barkley, being Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. This means the number could remain under $20 million annually if both only slightly set the new standard in pay. Running backs like Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and Melvin Gordon will most likely fall under Todd Gurley in the hierarchy of running back contracts.

If the Giants are looking at slightly under or even $20 million in annual salary, this would be nearly a sixth of the salary cap for one player. Usually, a team has a quarterback who makes that kind of money. While it’s certainly a lot of money for a non-quarterback, the Giants won’t need to re-sign a quarterback until the 2024 season, at the earliest.

The Giants will have the luxury of spending less than $10 million annually on the quarterback position after 2019, leaving plenty of room to spend elsewhere. The timing works beautifully for a team needing to pay a running back in the future. If the team wants to avoid breaking the bank for both players, they could front-load a contract that pays Barkley the brunt of his deal before re-signing Jones if all goes well for the rookie quarterback.

Not only is an elite running back like Saquon Barkley a quarterback’s best friend, but the New York Giants will also be in the right financial position to keep Saquon Barkley around for a long time. If the team wants to minimize the blow to their wallet, they should try to pay him before many other running backs top Zeke’s deal. There’s a couple right around the corner in Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey.

As much as you hear about running backs being a product of their surroundings, there is clear statistical regression for an offense when removing an elite running back from the unit. Since quarterback play is also directly affected by elite running backs, valuing elite running backs at top-dollar is more reasonable than many think.

New York Giants: Keys To Success Vs. The Dallas Cowboys

The NFL regular season is finally here. The New York Giants have their week one matchup coming up on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. in Dallas to take on the division-rival Cowboys. It will be of vital importance for the Giants to get off to a hot start this year, with the first four weeks arguably being the easiest stretch of games on the schedule.

The Cowboys were a playoff team last year. It will be a tough week one matchup on the road for the Giants. There are a couple of things the Giants need to focus on in order to win this game:

Protect Eli Manning

Eli Manning was sacked a career-high 47 times in 2018. The Giants have suffered through atrocious offensive line play for years but it looks like that might finally change in 2019. Dave Gettleman has made it his mission to rebuild the offensive line over the past two years and he has definitely succeeded to some degree.

No, the offensive line is still not the best in the league or even close to it, but they are definitely one of the league’s most improved units. The Giants added right guard Kevin Zeitler who will improve the Giants’ pass protection tremendously.

Zeitler allowed only 11 total pressures playing for the Browns in 2018 and will continue to be one of the best pass-blocking guards with the Giants in 2018. This will be important in week one against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have quietly gained one of the best pass-rushing defensive fronts in the NFL.

The Cowboys recently paid Demarcus Lawrence very handsomely. Lawrence has turned into one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, his two-year pass-rush grade (91.4) and two-year pass-rush win rate (19.4%) ranks fifth among the 60 NFL edge defenders with 500 or more pass-rush snaps since 2017.

Demarcus Lawrence recorded 14.5 sacks in 2017 and 10.5 sacks in 2018. He has also been known to poke lots of fun at Eli Manning on social media. The Giants’ new offensive line cannot allow Lawrence to keep disrespecting their quarterback. New York needs to make a statement in week one and shut down Demarcus Lawrence.

Be Prepared For Any Running Back

It is growing more and more likely that the Giants will have to face off against Ezekiel Elliott in week one. Up until this past weekend, the Giants were almost certain that Elliott would not have a contract by week one. But now, it seems almost certain that he will get the deal done with Dallas and play on Sunday.

The Giants know good and well what the NFL’s 2018 leading rusher is capable of. The Giants have faced off against Elliott only three times in the past three seasons (due to him missing one of the two contests each year). Elliott has totaled at least 70 yards in each of those three games and totaled over 100 yards in two of them.

The Cowboys’ offense runs through Zeke. So the Giants must be prepared to stop him. But what if Elliott does not play on Sunday? The Giants still need to be equally prepared for whichever running back does play. The Cowboys have one of the league’s best offensive lines, so any running back should produce behind it.

In fact, the Cowboys have a pretty talented backup running back that Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was admittedly a fan of. Pat Shurmur had this to say about Tony Pollard:

“He’s fast, has got really good instincts, good collision balance, he can catch the ball. So he’s got what you’re looking for in a runner. And it appears from what I’ve seen on tape and from what they’re saying that they’re really fond of what he’s done.” – Pat Shurmur, via NY Daily News

The Giants do have one of the best young defensive lines in the NFL. B.J. Hill impressed with 5.5 sacks as a rookie and Dalvin Tomlinson has been one of the league’s quiet superstars with his consistent run defense throughout his two-year career. The Giants also added Clemson hog molly Dexter Lawrence to the mix after drafting him in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

New York has already stated that they are preparing for Sunday as if Elliott will be there. This should mean they will be prepared if Pollard is the back, too. Regardless, the Giants’ defensive line will have a tough matchup against the Cowboys’ offensive line that features three All-Pros.

New York Giants News, 9/3 – Predicting the score for week 1 against the Cowboys

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The outcome for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys in week one comes down to whether Ezekiel Elliott plays or not. The Giants’ offense has looked stellar during the preseason, but their first string team hasn’t been on the field for very long.

Besides, star running back Saquon Barkley hasn’t played at all. Gaining him back and featuring the entire unit will allow them to perform at their peak level, but Dallas has a strong defense and could limit their production at home in Arlington.

I’m expecting wide receiver Sterling Shepard to have a big game against the Cowboys, simply because he’s itching to get back on the field and show why he deserved the big contract he earned this past off-season.

Shepard will be the clear-cut No.1 receiver for the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning. Working out of the slot and as a wideout will give Sterling the diversity and unpredictability, he needs to operate at a high-level.

Head coach Pat Shurmur will utilize him in different ways and put him in motion around the field. Also, the Giants will look to Evan Engram to dominate the seam and carve out big chunks of yardage.

Ultimately, though, it comes down to Manning and his efficiency from the pocket. General manager Dave Gettleman made it a priority to solidify the offensive line to provide Manning with more time in the pocket. Dallas has one of the better pass rushes in the game, which will pose problems for the Giants, but they will handle it better than in recent years. My prediction for this game is a Giants win, simply because the Cowboys will be without Ezekiel Elliott.

Final Score: Giants 27- Cowboys 24

Nonetheless-

Steve Serby – Giants’ chance to prove they were right about Odell Beckham is here

Ed Valentine – Why Alex Tanney? Pat Shurmur says he “add to the room”
Dan Benton – Giants name seven team captains, including Saquon Barkley
Matt Lombardo – NFL rumors: Only one Giants cut claimed during waiver period | what it means
Cay North – New York Giants: Who will come back from injured reserve?

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley is better than Ezekiel Elliott in every way

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

From pulling down the top of a girl at a parade to getting in a confrontation with a security worker at a music festival, the negative publicity doesn’t end for Dallas Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliott. The New York Giants have the opposite problem, or rather the solution in Saquon Barkley.

The second-year player and 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year has shown more positive traits than Ghandi…too far! In all seriousness, the 2nd overall pick from last year’s draft has proven himself in more than on-the-field play. His likeness off the field and with the fans has catapulted him into international stardom.

Barkley didn’t need “the catch” to make him an overnight sensation, he just simply is one. The positivity he brings to the game and leadership he bleeds from his teammates to young fans is inspiring.

Just take a look at the video from his latest football camp:

Being a part of the community and enjoying it is something a lot of players struggle with, but there are a ton that do the right thing and give back. Barkley is one of them, and as we inch closer to training camp, we can reflect on just how much better he is that Elliott.

Why New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley trumps Elliott:

To start, in his first season, Barkley amassed more yards from scrimmage than Elliott in his entire career. Throw in his intangibles and you have a player that has the potential to be a Hall of Famer in just three years. Factor in how much better Elliott’s offensive line is and you can really see the golden gates start to open in Saquon’s favor.

The Giants’ line ranked 21st in the league last season while the Cowboys’ ranked 14th (PFF), a significant difference. Did we mention the fumbles yet? I guess not.

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Elliott fumbled six times in 2018, while Barkley didn’t fumble once. Turnovers can be the difference between winning and losing, and Barkley did his part in keeping the ball off the turf. If that hasn’t convinced you of the Giants’ running backs’ dominance just yet, refer back to my opening statement.

Barkley hasn’t gotten into legal trouble or acted like an immature child at any point in his NFL career. I imagine it will stay like that for the foreseeable future.