The New York Giants have greatly improved since the Tom Coughlin Era. But unfortunately for them, so have the Dallas Cowboys, who hold the best record in football heading into week 14. The Sunday Night Football game between the Giants and Cowboys on the 11th is a critical NFC East match-up – one the Giants need to win if they want to continue their playoff pursuit. The Cowboys have already secured playoff berth, which means it’s do or die for the Giants.
“Right now we believe we have the players and the scheme to make a run at this thing,” head coach Ben McAdoo said. “We know we need to get back to work, we need to get some pads on this week if that’s the smart thing and the right thing to do based on the injury report and player health, we’ll do that. We need to play good football on Sunday.”
The Giants have shown streaks of competitiveness in their past few games. Their $206 million defense has proven it’s worth the money, as it has managed 27 sacks and 12 forced fumbles since season start. But the Cowboys arguably have the best O line in the league, which means the Giants defense will face the ultimate test to prove itself playoff worthy. It hugely lacked last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where flags and injuries ended the Giants’ six-game winning streak. The pass rush will need to come alive to contain Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott, while the line stuffs the run against powerhouse running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Giants have the skill, now it’s just a matter of executing for the critical win.
“We’re down in the red zone multiple times, at a certain point it’s about capitalizing,’’ offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse said. “That’s what these December games come down to, that’s what playoff games come down to.”
Offensively, the Giants need to explode like they did last season. I’m talking Odell Beckham Jr. going for a 100+ yard game, with Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard getting a few looks also. Quarterback Eli Manning showed signs of his panicky self last week, by throwing for 195 yards, two TDs, and two interceptions. Manning has the weapons, and if he has the time in the pocket, there’s no reason he can’t go for a couple hundred interception-less passing yards. The offenses’ ability to move the chains and get the touchdowns will be the ultimate difference between 9-4, and 8-5.
“From 10 [Manning] to the receivers to the offensive line, we all got to pick our game up a little bit more,” Newhouse said.
Needless to say, this match-up will be exciting for football fans everywhere. If the Giants show up on all three sides of the football, they have a solid chance of stuffing the Cowboys’ momentum – after all they did hand the Cowboys their only loss of the season back in week one.