The New York Giants are hungry to start the season off right after going 8-24 the past two seasons. To add to their hunger, they’ve gone 0-4 the past two seasons against the Cowboys. Dallas, coming off a 10-6 NFC-East Division winning season, looks to continue their recent success against Big Blue. The Cowboys are currently 7.5 point favorites to win the inaugural game of the season for both teams. So, how can the Giants pull off the upset? If the Giants can check off these three boxes, a victory will be very possible.
3 Keys to a Victory Over Dallas:
Give Saquon the Ball
Saquon Barkley is the best running back in the game. He has a skill set that allows him to score on any play that he touches the ball. He is the face of the offense, and arguably, the face of the franchise. When you have a generational talent like Barkley, it is extremely important he gets the number of touches he deserves.
Last season, Barkley had a total of four games where he had more than 20 rushes. In those four games, he ran for 337 yards and tallied four scores. Perhaps much more importantly though, the Giants went 3-1 in those games. When Saquon didn’t get 20 rushes, the team went 2-10. While it is a rather small sample size, there is no reason to think that his success won’t continue with 20+ rushes.
Contain Ezekiel Elliot
The second-best running back in the game will be on the other side of the field on Sunday. Elliot, who just signed a new contract that will make him the highest-paid RB in NFL history, has had consistent success since entering the league in 2016. Likewise, Dallas as a team has also had great success since 2016.
Last season, Elliot totaled 100+ rushing yards seven times. In those seven games, the Cowboys went 6-1. On the other hand, Elliot failed to eclipse the century-mark eight times. In those games, Dallas went a measly 3-5. It will be vital for the Giants to prevent the 2x rushing champion from reaching 100 rushing yards if they want to start the season with a win.
Force an Interception
The Giants’ defense has struggled greatly the past two seasons. Turnovers and sacks have been rather rare over the past 32 games. If the Giants want to have a successful season, the defense needs to start playing at a higher level. Why not set the bar high in week one?
Over the past two seasons, Dak Prescott has thrown 21 interceptions. That is one of the lowest marks in all of the NFL. Teams have capitalized on those turnovers, however. Since 2017, Dallas has gone 2-10 in games where Prescott throws at least one interception.
If Big Blue can manage to check off all three of these boxes, a victory will most likely be within reach. The last time the Giants won a week one game? The 2016 season, at Dallas, the beginning of an 11-5 season.