New York Giants Preview: Week 2 at Dallas Cowboys
The New York Giants are still reeling following their Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, they are focused on Sunday night, as they enter “Jerry World” to face the rival Dallas Cowboys.
In order to avoid he dreaded 0-2 start, the Giants not only have to learn from their mistakes last week, but Dallas’ errors as well. Here is what to look for from New York on Sunday Night Football.
Putting the Ball in Dak’s Hands
In what is a surprise to no one, running back Ezekiel Elliott is the lifeline of the Cowboys offense. Head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will “feed Zeke” a ton. So the goal is simple for the Giants, and that’s to stop the rushing attack.
Landon Collins said it perfectly, the James Bettcher-led defense has to put the ball in Prescott’s hands.
Last week against the Panthers, Prescott struggled, as he accumulated just 170 passing yards. The receiving corps could not break free from coverage, and when they did, Prescott was not on target with his throws. In fact, stat sheets have shown the third-year signal caller is not fond of throwing deep down the field. In fact, in his last three games, Prescott has thrown just six passes further than 18-yards. With the lack of a true No. 1 receiver, it’s hard to see Prescott bucking that trend.
Since that’s the case, the Giants defense will have to play shallow, and follow the next step.
Dallas’ Vulnerable O-Line
Remember when the Cowboys offensive line was one of the most feared in the league? Well, that group has fallen back to reality.
Even with center Travis Frederick out for the foreseeable future, the majority of the corps was starting last weekend. Tyron Smith struggled with penalties and second-round selection Connor Williams struggled in his NFL debut.
It only got worse, as the offensive line allowed six sacks and ten hits on Prescott, which attributed to the lack of offense.
Will Flowers Flourish?
A new start to the season, and questions have arose for 2015 first-round pick Ereck Flowers. On the first two plays of the Giants first drive, two deep passes were negated due to tripping and holding penalties by the offensive tackle, respectively.
Left side, right side, it doesn’t matter. Flowers still shows issues with dropping his hips and blocking the opposing pass rusher. Head coach Pat Shurmur said there were good and bad plays from Flowers, which goes to show that he is not giving up on him.
Last week, he had to face off against All-Pro edge rusher Calais Campbell and their stout defense. Now, he’ll likely have his hands full with DeMarcus Lawrence, who is coming off a rather strong game against Carolina, where he recorded seven total tackles and one sack on Cam Newton. Lawrence has shown the explosiveness to get to the quarterback, so the expectation is that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will send him Flowers’ way…often.
It won’t be a “final test” game for Flowers, but it will have plenty of people watching.
Saquon’s Time to Shine
Giants fans got a full glimpse what Saquon Barkley can bring to the team on his 68-yard touchdown run. Before that, he had a rough time, in part due to a troubling effort by the offensive line, as well as facing off against a tough Jacksonville defensive squad.
But Barkley returns to where he made his NFL debut, once he was announced as the second-overall pick by the Giants in front of raucous Cowboys fans in AT&T Stadium. And to put it bluntly, he has a very favorable matchup.
Even with question marks on the o-line (Flowers, Patrick Omameh), the Cowboys rush defense is ranked 27th in the entire league, allowing 147 rushing yards against a Panthers rush attack of Christian McCaffrey, C.J. Anderson, and Newton. To top it all off, it came behind a Carolina offensive line that has been ravaged by injuries.
Barkley possesses once-in-a-generation skills, which have been called better than those of Dallas’ Elliott. He has the perfect opportunity to do so with all eyes watching him in prime-time.
Manning’s Moment to Silence Critics
Ever since the Giants selected Barkley, there has been one side of fans and analysts that agreed with the move. On the other side of the line, critics bashed New York for passing up on Sam Darnold, who is shining early on with the Jets. While the pressure being placed on Barkley is high, nothing matches the level in which Eli Manning is facing.
Manning is in his 15th NFL season and is coming off a bad year in 2017. With the Giants boasting a high draft pick, many slotted them to take a quarterback of the future. However, they have been lacking a consistently dangerous running back since Ahmad Bradshaw. As a result, Manning had to throw the ball a lot over the years.
Now, he has Barkley to help alleviate the pressure. He has Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram at his disposal to give him every chance to succeed.
Manning will have to face off against a Cowboys secondary which held Cam Newton to 146 passing yards last week. Dallas’ defensive backfield is young and following a new scheme under passing game coordinator Kris Richard, who played a pivotal role in the creation of the Legion of Boom with the Seattle Seahawks.
There is so much chatter surrounding Manning. On Sunday, he has the chance to silence the talk and show he’s still got it.
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