Coming off of a late game collapse in Indianapolis last week, the 5-10 New York Giants will be hosting the Dallas Cowboys at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday for the week 17 season finale. The Cowboys are, of course, a division rival in the NFC East. This means that this is the Giants’ second matchup with Dallas this season.
In week two, the Giants traveled to Dallas to play the Cowboys in a primetime Sunday night matchup. The Giants lost this game 13-20. This was when the Giants offense was at an extreme low point. The final score was only a seven point difference, but this was because of a garbage-time touchdown by the Giants. The Cowboys owned them this game, but the Giants will have a chance to get revenge in week 17.
Taking A Look At The Cowboys
The Cowboys have clinched a playoff spot by winning the NFC East. They are sitting at 9-6 and will be looking to reach double digit wins after coming up a game short last season. Dallas is being lead by third year running back Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot leads the league in rushing yards this season.
The Cowboys offense has added a new weapon since the Giants last played them. They received wide receiver Amari Cooper in a trade with the Oakland Raiders. Since joining the Cowboys in week nine, Cooper has totaled 694 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. Elliot and Cooper are two key players that the Giants defense will need to stop in order to win.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have had a rookie emerge as the leader of their defense. The first-year linebacker out of Boise State University, Leighton Vander Esch, has totalled 131 tackles this season, third in the NFL. On top of that, Vander Esch has added two interceptions and seven passes defended. Edge rusher Demarcus Lawrence is also having a good season. He has an impressive 9.5 sacks and 61 tackles this season. The Giants’ offensive line will need to give Lawrence a lot of attention in order to keep quarterback Eli Manning upright.
For the fourth time this season, superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been ruled out. His season is over after just twelve games and he will not play in the season finale. The Giants have also ruled out defensive end Mario Edwards, middle linebacker Alec Ogletree, tight end Rhett Ellison, and wide receiver Russell Shepard.
The Cowboys will be without two defensive linemen this week. Defensive tackle David Irving and defensive end Tyrone Crawford will not play on Sunday. On top of that, the Cowboys have four players questionable. Left tackle Tyron Smith, right guard Zack Martin, linebacker Sean Lee, and cornerback Anthony Brown are all questionable.
The Giants’ Game Plan
The Cowboys have already clinched a playoff spot and have no room for improvement for a higher seed. With this in mind, it is likely that many of the Cowboys’ starters will see minimal to no playing time. The Giants will lean heavily on running back Saquon Barkley this week with multiple defensive linemen and linebackers either out or questionable for Dallas. Eli Manning had a good day passing the ball last Sunday against the Colts, and Giants fans should expect more of the same from the veteran quarterback against a mediocre Dallas defense.
The Giants will look to improve to 6-10 against the Cowboys, but many fans will argue that they shouldn’t. The Giants currently hold the 8th pick in the draft. With a win this week, the Giants could fall all the way back to the 12th pick in the draft. With a loss, the Giants could stay where they are, or potentially move all the way up to the 4th pick. For the Giants’ future, a loss would be ideal. However, head coach Pat Shurmur has already spoken out against tanking, so expect the Giants to give this one their all.