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Position battleground (offense): Cowboys vs. Giants head-to-head breakdown of the offensive positions

A positional head-to-head breakdown of the Week 12 matchup between the Cowboys and Giants to find the strengths and weaknesses of each offensive position.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Turkey Bowl is here! Everybody get excited for some football, family, food, and of course, some Giant slaying. The Dallas Cowboys had quite the display last week with a huge, emphatic win against the Minnesota Vikings. The New York Giants lost terribly to the Detroit Lions, so it’s safe to say the Cowboys are going into this one with all the confidence and momentum.

So how does each offensive position on both teams fare in a head-to-head battle?

QUARTERBACK

Dak Prescott vs Daniel Jones

This one isn’t too hard to dissect, going off last week’s performances. Dak Prescott silenced the critics with a complete and very clean game. What makes what he did even more impressive is doing it on the road, and also having to perform after a bad result the week before, showing the world how mentally tough he can be. This was easily one of Dak’s best games, and what we saw this week is what Cowboys fans can expect when Dak is locked in, focused, and out for blood. Some of the throws he made were tight window throws, needing good placement with accuracy, and having to make reads quickly and effectively. Dak threw for a staggering 88% completion rate off 25 attempts. He was helped massively by a solid offensive line performance, and also with consistent receiver play, and a very low penalty count. On a short week, let’s hope Dak retains that precision, confidence, swagger and leadership.

Daniel Jones, on the other hand, is coming off a week where their offense asked him to throw 44 times, and in doing so threw two interceptions. His only passing touchdown came in garbage time and was a meaningless score. Jones has been better than his previous seasons, and until last week’s game, looked sufficient. What’s been better is his ground game and becoming more of a dual-threat quarterback. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in a game this season, and for over 50 yards three times so far. Generally though, his passing game lacks any real power. What the Detroit Lions exposed is if you contain the run, make Jones have to throw and be the guy to move the chains, you can beat the Giants handily.

Win: Cowboys

NFL: NOV 20 Cowboys at Vikings

RUNNINGBACK

Elliott/Pollard vs Barkley/Breida

Where the Giants have one of the best running backs in the league, Dallas have arguably the best running back tandem. We got to see Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard finally reunited since Week 7, and the results proved how great they work together. Zeke has now racked up five touchdowns in the last three games he’s started. Sure the average yards per carry look a bit weird, but that’s mostly down to utilizing Zeke on short-yardage plays, goal line plunges, and being used as the sledge hammer to Tony Pollard’s scalpel.

Last year Pollard finished second in average yards per carry, this year he’s there again, only behind Khalil Herbert who has recently moved to IR in Chicago. Pollard right now is averaging 4.35 yards after contact, that’s the best in the NFL. In Zeke’s absence, Pollard never missed a beat and looking like an elite running back. And after his last performance, you have to think the pundits will talk more about Pollard as a top-tier back. The receiving game contributions, as well as his adjusted pace to Zeke when he comes to the field, has linebackers and defensive backs in all kinds of problems.

For the Giants, Saquon Barkley is second in rush yards, second in rush attempts, and on runs that go for 10+ yards he now has 23, which ranks forth. The majority of the Giants success this season can mostly be attributed to Barkley not just staying healthy, but also that he remains consistently productive. With the lack of other offensive options, Barkley isn’t just the main threat, he’s the only real threat. As for Breida, he stays ready to take the lead role should Barkley get hurt. Beyond that he isn’t really used much, and he’s managed to finish two games this season on negative rush yards.

Tandem wise, Dallas wins this one. Individual basis, Giants win. But to break the score let’s look at total touchdowns between both teams tandems. Dallas wins.

Win: Cowboys (as a collective unit)

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

WIDE RECEIVERS

Lamb/Gallup/Brown vs Slayton/Robinson/James

CeeDee Lamb is in top form right now. The catch he made on the sideline, bringing it down and maintaining the ball, was one of the highlight moments of the game. What a special throw and catch that set up Brett Maher for a lengthy field goal. Lamb’s five touchdowns is the same amount as the Giants wide receivers touchdown total combined. And to add more confidence for Dak to throw to, Lamb made all five catches on his five targets last week, and he’s only dropped one pass since Week 3.

Michael Gallup, although he doesn’t look completely like last year’s Michael Gallup, still contributes to the offense and makes important first down catches. Let’s see what happens in the next coming weeks with James Washington, as his return seems imminent, and he told the media he’s ready to play. And the Odell Beckham Jr saga continues.

But for all the complaints about the Cowboys wide receiver corps, the Giants ask even more questions. Darius Slayton continues to be the Giants lead receiver. He’s managed two scores on the season, and plays more as their deep threat. Richie James Jr, playing from the slot, is their second most productive. As for rookie Wan’Dale Robinson, he started to look good, but is now on IR for the season with a bad knee injury.

Win: Cowboys

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

TIGHT END

Dalton Schultz vs Hudson/Cager

Outside of Slayton and Barkley, tight end Daniel Bellinger really remains the only other option on this Giants offense. But he’s currently out after breaking bones in his nose and eye socket, but keep watching his name on the practice report. Since then, the Giants have used both backups, Tanner Hudson and Lawrence Cager. So far both tight ends have combined for 151 receiving yards on 20 targets.

Dalton Schultz keeps doing what’s needed. He managed to snag a first down last week, but his 279 receiving yards out does all of the Giants tight ends production collectively. But in terms of pass blocking effectiveness, it’s hard to judge since the Giants sample size for these players is so small.

Win: Cowboys

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

OFFENSIVE LINE

News will be coming soon on Tyron Smith’s return. And Cowboys fans got a little taster of what that might look last week. In the forth quarter, the Cowboys moved some players around, and Jason Peters took over the left tackle position, moving Tyler Smith into the guard spot. Get ready for more of that look soon. Tyler Smith had one of his best games yet. He allowed zero sacks, and zero pressures in this game, the first clean game of his career. Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Cowboys offensive line allowed zero sacks on Dak for the first time this year. The Cowboys line still ranks best in the league in sacks allowed, and now ranked eighth in pressures allowed.

The New York Giants line is struggling, but more with health than anything else. Their big draft pick Evan Neal, stays sidelined with his MCL injury. Starting center Jon Feliciano, nurses a neck injury and looks questionable to start. And Tyre Phillips, that was filling in for Neal, left the game last week with a neck injury as well. This line will get a serious testing this week, having allowed the tenth most sacks, and facing a Dallas defense that enjoyed a sack-happy game last week.

Win: Cowboys

Poll

Which team has the better offense?

  • 98%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (542 votes)
  • 1%
    New York Giants
    (8 votes)
550 votes total Vote Now

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