The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a huge win over the Minnesota Vikings. The New York Giants are coming off a demoralizing loss to the Detroit Lions. Both teams are 7-3, but the oddsmakers like DraftKings Sportsbook don’t see this as a particularly close game, with Dallas currently 9.5-point favorites.
We talked to SB Nation site Big Blue View for some insight into the game.
Blogging The Boys: The Cowboys know about tough losses to middling NFC North teams. Do you think the Giants loss to the Lions was more of a one-off, or could it be a troubling sign for the rest of the season?
Big Blue View: That’s the big question everyone has to be asking right now when it comes to the Giants. isn’t it? I wrote about that question Sunday night, and Tony DelGenio and I discussed it as part of our podcast on Monday morning. Many have found it hard to take the Giants seriously as they got off to a surprising 7-2 start. I keep saying that while it has been nice, this Giants team is not a true contender to make a deep playoff run. It’s too young, too limited, too beaten up. It’s been a great ride thus far. Problem is, now the Giants are dealing with debilitating injuries across the roster and face the NFL’s most difficult schedule over the final nine games. If you believe it will take 10 wins to get to the playoffs, I think the Giants might have a difficult time getting there. They certainly can, but it isn’t going to be easy.
BTB: It looks like the injury bug has invaded this week, talk about some of the injuries and how that could affect Thursday’s game.
BBV: Well, Sunday the Giants lost WR Wan’Dale Robinson to a torn ACL and No. 1 CB Adoree’ Jackson to a sprained MCL. In addition, starting CB Fabian Moreau suffered an oblique injury and starting center Jon Feliciano has a neck injury. The Giants are already without starting safety Xavier McKinney, CB Aaron Robinson, edge defender Azeez Ojulari, TE Daniel Bellinger, RT Evan Neal, DT Nick Williams and WR Sterling Shepard. I’ve probably forgotten a few, but you get the point.
The Giants’ front office has done a masterful job adding pieces to this team as the season has gone along, but there has to be a breaking point. In some spots, the Giants are now using backups to the backups. The secondary is a disaster at the moment, I have no idea what the offensive line alignment will be, they don’t have a good tight end, and even before Robinson went down they didn’t have enough at wide receiver. I have no idea how they are going to cover anybody, who Daniel Jones will throw to, or how they will open a hole for Saquon Barkley.
BTB: Now that you have had some time to observe the Giants rookie class, who is stepping up and who is not looking so hot?
BBV: Well, sadly the Giants’ rookie class has been hit hard by injuries.
Robinson, the second-round pick and an exciting player, is out for the year. Guard Marcus McKethan and LB Darrian Beavers, fifth and sixth-round picks, tore ACLs in training camp. Evan Neal, the No. 7 overall pick, has missed the last three games with a sprained MCL. CB Cor’Dale Flott, a third-round pick, missed a lot of time with a calf injury. Daniel Bellinger, the starting tight end, is on IR after fracturing an eye socket. He should return, but not by Thursday.
Let’s see, who’s left. LB Micah McFadden, a fifth-round pick, has been healthy. He just hasn’t shown a heckuva lot.
Giants fans hoped Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 overall pick, would be their answer to Micah Parsons. He has not been. He has done OK, but has only one sack. When you watch him play he looks fine, but he just doesn’t look like a star. He also missed two games with an MCL sprain.
BTB: The general narrative is the Giants’ record is not really indicative of the team, that some of their stats suggest they should be more of a middle of the pack team. Do you believe that? And if not, what is the counter-argument?
BBV: Well, let me start with the counter-argument. That is the Bill Parcells “you are what your record says you are” argument. It is not a fluke that the Giants have won seven games. They earned those victories — and they do have wins over the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens. So, they have beaten some good teams.
I get the “are they really that good” argument. They are only +1 in point differential, and it would seem impossible to be 7-3 with that being the case. Thing is, the Giants are very good when they can play a certain style of game. They have a very narrow path to winning, and they have largely been able to stick to the script. That includes running the ball well with Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. Being efficient offensively and defensively on third down and in the red zone, and they have mostly done those things well all year. Controlling the pace of games, and keeping the score down. Sunday was the first time a team had reached 30 points against the Giants, and the Giants have not hit that number yet this year. In fact, it has now been 38 games since they have done that. Playing mistake free, and capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes late in games.
If the Giants can play that game, they can win. If they are turning the ball over, trying to come back from a two- or three-score deficit, or needing to match an opponent in a high-scoring game they have not shown the ability to do that.
BTB: The Cowboys are big favorites by eight points in the game. How do you feel about that spread and what do you think will happen on Thursday?
BBV: The spread I saw as I got set to answer these was nine points [it has moved from eight and at latest look is 9.5], perhaps indicative of the Giants’ injuries. I feel good about what the Giants have done, and I think there is finally hope for the future with Joe Schoen as GM, Brian Daboll as head coach and some of the players they have in place. That said, there is no chance I would put money on the Giants in this game — unless perhaps the spread reached double digits. The Giants are coming off their worst game, I have no idea how they will piece together a functional secondary, how they will block anybody and who will catch the ball if and when Jones can throw it.