Ahhhhh, here we are: week number two and the Giants season is already on the brink! Either the G-Men or Cowboys will be staring at an 0-2 start after Sunday’s tilt. Given the expected strong season from the Eagles and the surprisingly sharp Redskins, a second loss in the NFC East could put the loser on life support for the division crown. Big Blue played well enough to win last Sunday against Jacksonville, too, which made the loss that much more frustrating. Here are some story lines and match-ups to keep an eye on this Sunday as the Giants look to rebound against a familiar foe:
Yes, the offensive line was brutal against Jacksonville.; and yes, there were dropped passes. However, those shortcomings don’t absolve Eli of a big chunk of the blame against the Jaguars. His two misfires to a wide open Odell Beckham were killer plays that should’ve won the Giants the game had one of them been connected on. Look for #10 to bounce back with quick throws early on to develop a better rhythm.
Giants O-Line vs. Cowboys Front Seven
This is another big test for the much maligned Giants offensive line. While the Cowboys front seven might not be on the level of the Jags’, they’re not far off. Similar to Eli, the O-Line must perform better if the Giants are going to pull off a win in ‘Jerry World.’ It’ll be interesting to see how head coach Pat Shurmur schemes to protect a blatant weakness.
#Giants offensive line grades from week 1:
LT Solder- 67.1
LG Hernandez- 63.1
C Halapio- 65.7
RG Omameh- 48.3
RT Flowers- 49.6#BigBlue
— PFF NY Giants (@PFF_Giants) September 10, 2018
Ezekiel Elliot vs. Giants Run Stoppers
Like last week, this match-up is strength vs. strength. I expect James Bettcher to place an emphasis on stacking the box and making life extremely difficult for Zeke. The Cowboys offensive line is more vulnerable than its ever been with star center Travis Frederick out indefinitely. And if the Giants are able to stymie the run…
Getting Dak to Throw on Third Down Situations
Dak and the Cowboys were utter garbage on third downs last week against the Panthers. The Cowboys went an appalling 2-11 on third downs. Making Dak throw to the band of bums (Hurns/Gallup/Williams/Beasley/Tavon) will be vital in determining the Giants fate on Sunday. I’m just thankful Jason Witten traded in his cleats for the booth…
"6 TDs, 9 picks and a 75 rating in the 9 games since Zeke had to serve that suspension? That is a brutal indictment on where he is right now as a quarterback."@getnickwright on Dak Prescott's play since Zeke's suspension pic.twitter.com/JByKIzmgdq
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) September 14, 2018
I think the mandate to stop Zeke is really going to put the game in Dak’s hands – which is not a good thing if you’re a Cowboys fan. I’d also like to believe the Giants will be better on offense, too. I just can’t see the combination of Eli missing key throws, Engram dropping passes and Barkley’s inefficiency on the ground and lack of involvement in the passing game happening in back to back weeks. If at least one of those elements corrects, the Giants should have every opportunity to win on Sunday.
Giants 23 Cowboys 20