Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
The Giants faced a test last week vs the Steelers and failed. After beating inferior teams without a winning record like Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, the Giants could not beat a worthy adversary, Pittsburgh at home. Once again the Giants lost the time of possession with 26 minutes to the Steelers 34. Even though the Steelers pass defense has been vulnerable this year, Eli could not take advantage of it. He threw for less than 200 yards and had 2 picks. The Steelers did what all teams are doing against the Giants, and that is, play 2 high safeties and try to keep all the passes underneath. The Giants are predictable from the standpoint that they deploy 3 wide, 11 personnel, more than anyone in the league. They have no full back and have very poor tight ends. If you are a defensive coordinator you know what you will be facing for a majority of the game. This makes your job simple. Eli does not use as much play action that he has done from the past. He was forcing the ball to Beckham in triple coverage. Somebody else had to be open on most plays. Eli needs to find Sheppard, Cruz or Tye.
The Giants still cannot run the ball. They are averaging 77.5 yards a game rushing, 31st in the NFL, 3.5 yards/carry, 31st and only 5 rushing TD’s all year 27th in the NFL. Eli only completed 6 passes to other wide receivers. The Giants were 0-3 on 4th downs. McAdoo should have been kicking field goals instead of going for it. After they missed the 1st one they went for it on a 4th and 13. The odds of making that were probably 10% or less. If they kicked the 2 field goals they would have been losing 21-13 and were within 1 possession. They just came out flat and were not up to the game. The Giants are 26th in total offense and 28th in 3rd down efficiency at 35%. They were at 36% in this game. Everyone in America would have thought that as an 8-3 team going into last week was much better on offense. Their reputation is better than the results show. The Emperor has no Clothes because Jerry refuses to build an offensive line with depth. They always have at least 3 starters go down for multiple games EVERY year. They may get Pugh back this week after being out 3-4 weeks. Dallas by contrast has the best OL in the league and they are 11-1. Oakland has the second best OL and they were 10-2 going into Thursday night loss. Any coincidence Jerry, do you get it????
Looking to this week’s all important game, there is only one way to beat Dallas and that is to throw. I expect Eli to throw 40+ times. The Dallas Achilles Heel has been their secondary. The Cowboys are 29th vs the pass. Nobody would expect that for an 11-1 team! Just as in 2014 with Murray, the Cowboys win the time of possession game and keep their defense off the field as long as possible. That is their plan. The anemic Giants run game will do little against this front to increase their average. Vereen comes back and he may be a wild card as one of the top receiving backs in the league.
When the Cowboys have the ball they will run it with Elliott behind the best OL in the league. LeVeon Bell had a total of 182 yards last week with 118 rushing. The Giants couldn’t stop him and all they can do is hope to limit Elliott. They need to stack the box and let Dak try and beat them through the air vs the good Gmen secondary. When they played in week 1 it was Prescott’s and Elliott’s first pro game. They are both much improved.
Another weapon that always kills the Giants is the tight end. Witten has made a career playing against the Giants. He had 9 catches in week 1. Ladarius Green had his pro coming out party last week of course at our expense. He had 6 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Vernon has come on in the second half of the season for the Giants D as Spags D is looking more and more like the Super Bowl defense he perfected. . Since week 8 he has had 7 sacks, the most by anyone. I have been hard on him because of the expectations of his $83M price tag. He has played very well. But he has averaged only 7 sacks a year through his career so he has a chance to have his best year. The Gmen will need to keep the Cowboys in third and long. The loss of JPP is huge. They will not be able to replace his production. So this may be difficult today.
The Giants always play Dallas close. The last 4 games were decided by an average of 3 points. I think this game will also. The Giants can win if they can slow down Elliott. The turnover battle is always a key to victory. Dallas is +2 and the Giants are -5. The Giants should be more motivated than Dallas who is virtually already in the playoffs. The Giants play better at home. Eli has a 93.5 rating in the 6 home games. I don’t think they win this one. I’m calling it Dallas 24 and the Giants 21.