Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe Cowboys got themselves back to the .500 mark with their win over the Redskins last Thursday night, and they got back to being an aggressive, opportunistic team. Dak Prescott has had plenty of issues since Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension took hold. However, he bounced back with a much better effort in Week 13. Young quarterbacks go through adversity, and now it appears that Prescott may be responding.All bets are off for the Giants this week as they have fired bumbling head coach Ben McAdoo just a few days after his ill-advised move to bench Eli Manning. Look for Manning to get back in the lineup here over Geno Smith and Davis Webb. Manning and new head coach Steve Spagnuolo have a chance to establish an alliance that wins over angry Giants fans.
- OffenseAlfred Morris is a solid running back who could have an impressive game against the Giants’ sorry defense, which ranks 32nd in yards allowed. While Morris is not as fast or powerful as Elliott, he is not going down after the first hit. Wideout Dez Bryant is at his best when he plays angry, and he is usually of that temperament when he plays the Giants. Jason Witten remains one of the game’s top tight ends.The Giants have to find a way to protect the quarterback against the Cowboys, who can bring an athletic and aggressive pass rush. Orleans Darkwa will get a chance to run the ball here, but he will likely have just moderate success. Rookie tight end Evan Engram has become a fine pass catcher and the team’s best receiver. Sterling Shepard is dependable but he is not a big-playmaker.
- DefenseThe Cowboys have plenty of speed and athleticism on defense, but they have not made enough key plays this year. While the Cowboys are going to have to improve their defense down the stretch, the Giants don’t seem likely to provide much of a test. Demarcus Lawrence is having a brilliant year with 13.5 sacks, while LB Jaylon Smith has a team-high 71 tackles.The Giants have fallen on hard times defensively, and that’s a huge disappointment considering how much of an improvement they made in 2016. The Giants rank dead last in yards allowed, and they have a game-changing safety in Landon Collins who leads the team with 95 tackles. Jason Pierre-Paul leads the defense with 6.5 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys got a major boost from their special teams in Week 13 when speedy Ryan Switzer returned a punt for a touchdown against the Redskins. PK Dan Bailey suffered through some injuries earlier in the season, but he is back and has made 8-of-8 FG attempts.The Giants would like to make big plays in the return game, but they don’t have the weapons at this point. The Giants have a negative differential on both punt and kickoff returns, while Aldrick Rosas has been inconsistent, making 14-of-19 FG attempts.
The Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese Monday, and the Giants are likely to have an emotional effort at home.