It’s almost here. At long last, real, meaningful Dallas Cowboys football will be back this Sunday, as America’s Team battles a familiar foe in week one.
In what is seemingly becoming a yearly tradition, the Dallas Cowboys are taking on the New York Giants very early in the season. The Cowboys have won the last four in the series, sweeping both meetings in 2017 and in 2018. Dallas is a seven-point favorite as of Wednesday evening.
Still, the Giants have some players that can make it a game in AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon, including an explosive running back and a dangerous tight end. Here are three New York Giants offensive players to know.
Saquon Barkely is one of the most electrifying talents in the National Football League. The Penn State product was taken second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, and all that he did was rush for 1,307 yards, score 11 times on the ground, and added over 700 yards plus four more touchdowns as a pass catcher.
There is no denying how dangerous Barkley can be. He has the ability to turn the game on a big, explosive play.
In two games versus the Cowboys last season, Barkley saw both good and bad. The first game, Dallas was able to hold the talented rookie to under 30 yards rushing; however, the Giants back did catch the ball 14 times for 80 yards.
The second game, Barkley eclipsed 100 yards on the ground with a touchdown, while also catching four passes for an average of 8.25 yards per reception, showing that he is a talent that can impact the game as both a runner and a receiver.
Preventing Barkley from getting loose and making the big play will be key this Sunday, as the second-year star is at his best in the open field. The Cowboys have one of the better defensive units in the league, but they will be tested by a big time talent this weekend.
.@Giants @saquon sees lanes to the end zone that most normal RB’s never see. Since we can’t watch #Saquon in preseason, let’s look back to what he saw that lead to some monster plays. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/HnPeFcXbo5— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 27, 2019
The tight end position has evolved in today’s NFL. For the most part, there is more of an emphasis on catching the ball and stretching the field than there is on blocking. One player that has benefited from the evolution of the tight end position is Evan Engram.
Engram, a first-round selection out of Ole Miss, is a dangerous pass catcher that has the ability to stretch the field and be a reliable target in the New York Giants passing game. Since entering the league in 2017, the Georgia native has recorded at least 500 yards and three scores each season — including an impressive 64-catch, 722-yard, six-touchdown rookie campaign.
The Giants have somebody that is a matchup nightmare at their disposal, somebody that is too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers. Containing Engram needs to be a high priority of focus for the Cowboys’ defense on Sunday.
ICYMI: Eli on to Evan Engram to set up another TD!!!#NYGvsIND | #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/UR8G3yOir8— New York Giants (@Giants) December 23, 2018
The Giants’ offensive line has been scrutinized for years, but one bright spot in the trenches is second-year offensive guard Will Hernandez. Hernandez, the 34th overall selection in 2018, was a bright spot for the Giants during an otherwise lackluster season.
Described as a “mean, nasty, throwback blocker who wears a neck roll and wants to embarrass defenders” by draft analyst Matt Miller prior to the 2018 draft, the UTEP product helped pave the way for Saquon Barkley’s impressive campaign en route to an All-Rookie team selection last season.
The Cowboys have built a very formidable defensive line that should allow them to disrupt offenses each and every week this season, but Hernandez does provide a challenge in the interior. Getting to Eli Manning continuously and containing the electric Barkley would be a great way to open the 2019 season.
I talked last night about how I was impressed with #NYGiants rookie LG Will Hernandez so far this season. Here are some standout plays from week 2. All the traits I mentioned on display; strength (anchoring), power (movement), underrated AA (pulling/screens), and the mean streak: pic.twitter.com/TyqkLpczeM— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 19, 2018