Written by: Tony "The Prophet" Yantosca
Prophet Bleeds Blue
This is the 5th year that I am embarking on previewing and predicting Giants games with “The Prophet’s Pulpit”. I want to thank Glenn at nygunderground.com for giving me the opportunity. I have been a Giants’ fan since 1960 when I started watching them as a 7 year old. That was also the first year of the AFL. This is my 60th year of watching the NFL and I am grateful for that. I have witnessed “real” football and not the watered down product of today. I also do not want to see anyone get hurt. I have seen every Super Bowl and every big game like: The Immaculate Reception, the Ice Bowl, The Catch, The Fumble, The Tuck Rule, The Sea of Hands game, The Heidi Bowl, The Holy Roller, Miracle at the Meadowlands 1&2, The Fog Bowl, The Hail Mary, The Epic in Miami, (that was the best game ever until the Rams/Chiefs game this year), Music City Miracle, The Comeback, Ambush at Mile High, et. al. So I try to bring some history to this post.
Getting to the present day Giants, I am calling them a 6 or 7 win team in 2019. This team still has a lot of holes. They have a young DL and secondary, and no pass rush, no #1 X receiver, and OL depth after the starting offensive lineman. However they are 1 draft and free agent season away from being a potential contender, given that Dave G does not screw it up.
The big controversy this year is the drafting at the 6 spot of Daniel Jones and the passing up on Josh Allen, the elite edge rusher from Kentucky. Also note that I have been on record for over a year and a half that I wanted Sam Darnold at pick 2 last year! If you want more detail on my feelings on that situation go to nygundergraond.com and read my 5 page single spaced preseason manifesto where I beat that dead horse into the ground. My contention is that with 11 picks left in the draft, Dave G could have moved up and drafted Jones before pick 17 and get Jones and he could have also drafted Allen. The fairy tale that 2 teams were going to draft Jones before pick 17 is prorogated by Dave G and Giants inner circle.
Jones looks much better than expected and more accurate than I thought he was. However I want to see him in a crucible of a game situation when they actually game plan to stop him. He has been playing against many players in preseason who are not even in football now. For example, the Bears sat all 22 starters in the preseason game vs the Giants. I have publically stated that if I am wrong on him, I will personally send a handwritten note to John Mara, Steve Tisch and Dave Gettleman saying I was wrong and apologize. I have no problem doing that.
Getting to Sunday’s game, this is the obligatory match up of opening with the Dallas Cowboys. This is the 8th time since 2009 that the Giants have opened with Dallas. That year the opened the New Jerry’s World AT&T Stadium in a Sunday night matchup. The Giants were the first team to win there with a late 4th quarter comeback. Eli famously signed his name on the wall of the stadium as the first victor that night.
This is a matchup of the best two running backs in the NFL. Barkley had 2028 yards from scrimmage last year and Zeke had 2001. For the Giants, they will want to get Barkley in space. He is not going to pound the middle with the likes of Vander Esch, Lawrence, and Jaylon Smith roaming around the line. He had 16 targets and 14 catches in the first game last year. He was able to run more in the second game and only had 8 targets and 4 catches in that game. Dallas will stack the box and dare Eli to throw. If Eli can use play action he can get the ball to Engram and Sheppard who will have to have big games for the Gmen to win. Latimer and Fowler can also play a factor if both Engram and Sheppard are covered. Eli has had good games in AT&T Stadium. He has an average of 282.1 yards/game there for his career.
For the Cowboys, they will want to get Elliott running the ball early. He should get at least 15 touches and I would not be surprised if it is over 20. Dallas wants to get the running game going and then later in the game they can go to the play action. The Giants secondary is very young except Jackrabbit and Bethea. Dak will take shots to Cooper and Gallup. Jason Witten, is back from the dead like Jason in the horror movies. He has been an absolute Giant Killer in his career. I thought we were done with him when he went to the broadcast booth. He will play a role somehow in this game at age 37. He has over 1500 yards against the Giants and 15 touchdowns in 31 games in his career.
The Giants problem is the Dallas pass rush. Eli will be under pressure all game. I think Barkley will do more damage in the short pass game than he will on the ground. The ground may have 5 pass receptions as Eli has learned to just throw the ball away so he doesn’t get hurt. Conversely, the Giants have a young defensive line and inexperienced pass rushers. They have rookie Lorenzo Carter, second year BJ Hill, rookie Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, 3rd year, and rookie Oshane Ximines. JPP and Vernon are gone and not that I was fans of them. The King of Dead Money, Dave Gettleman, added plenty of dead money in getting rid of them. They should have never been on the roster to start. Dak should have plenty of time to throw with the offensive line healthy this year. They are a top 3 OL if not the best. Zeke can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He got a bad rap as not a pass catching RB. However when the smoke cleared last year he had 77 receptions.
So with the game prediction I look at history until proven wrong. The Giants were the best road team in the NFL last year vs the spread at 7-1. So I think they can cover and not win. I can see Eli having to throw to get the Giants close at the end in garbage time. With both teams having premiere running backs, you can expect the clock to run, even on the short passes. So I think the game will go under. I am calling the first game for the Giants, Dallas 24 and the Giants 19, with the Gmen getting close and having to settle for Rosas field goals. Remember from history that for the first 2-3 weeks of the season that underdogs of 7+ points usually do well because teams are rusty because nobody plays in preseason any more.