It’s once again that time of year. The Cowboys are preparing for their annual Thanksgiving game. Just four days after dismantling the Vikings, the Cowboys are at home to face a division rival in the Giants, who they beat earlier in the year with Cooper Rush at quarterback.
The Cowboys are 3-7 in their last 10 Thanksgiving games, but the last time the Cowboys played the Giants on this day they went to the Super Bowl. Which piece of history do our writers think will come more in handy this year? Let’s find out.
When New York has the ball
Contain Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley and the Giants have both been enjoying resurgent seasons, so it’s not a coincidence that Barkley’s three worst games of the year have all resulted in losses for New York. He is their offense, even leading the team in receptions, and that will only become more true with rookie pass catchers Wan’Dale Robinson and Daniel Bellinger out with injuries.
Barkley was limited to 81 yards on 14 carries the last time he faced the Cowboys, which was actually his second best rushing total against Dallas in his career. But this run defense has gotten better since then - they didn’t have Johnathan Hankins for that game - and are now ranked 10th in run defense DVOA. If the Cowboys can limit Barkley again, it’ll put the game on Daniel Jones’ shoulders just like the last game between these two. And that worked out great for Micah Parsons and this fearsome Cowboys pass rush.
When Dallas has the ball
Run like the wind
This Giants defense is falling apart at the seams with injuries right now, and they’ll be without star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson for this game. But the run defense has been terrible all year: they’re 28th in run defense DVOA, and only the Chargers are allowing more yards per carry on the year.
Meanwhile, Dallas just got their two-headed monster back last week, and both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard victimized a slightly better Vikings defense to no end. The Cowboys offense is third in rushing DVOA, and Pollard is second among all running backs in yards per carry. Dak Prescott will have plenty of opportunities through the air, but Dallas should be able to run all over this Giants defense, which notably features Jaylon Smith at linebacker.
Now onto the predictions from your BTB writers...
Tom Ryle (6-4):
I may be swayed by recency bias, but with the Cowboys coming off their most complete and impressive performance of the year and the Giants having suffered an embarrassing loss to the Lions, all the indications are that Dallas should cruise. The one concern is that Saquon Barkley could get rolling, but if the Cowboys’ offense plays at all like they did last week, it shouldn’t matter. I would not be surprised to see this a closer game than we might expect, but I still think a comfortable win.
Cowboys win, 34-20.
Tony Catalina (5-5):
Last week was about as impressive of a Cowboys win that I have seen in the last 10 years. Typically I am weary of the quick turnaround and the emotional factor the other team has coming into a Thanksgiving matchup, but I think the Cowboys love the idea of getting the chance to quickly get back on the field after Sundays performance.
The Cowboys are locked in right now and with a chance to take control over their division rival in the playoff race I think the Cowboys come out and prove it handedly.
Cowboys win on Turkey Day 34-17.
Matt Holleran (4-6):
Coming off their most dominant win of the season, we get to see if the Cowboys can put to rest their recent Thanksgiving Day woes. Dallas has won just 3 of their last 10 on the holiday, but I think they are in good shape to get back on track this week.
The Giants lost to a pretty bad Lions team last Sunday and got banged up while doing so. Dallas will be able to take advantage of New York’s injuries on the offensive line and that will be the difference in the game. It will be closer than some may think, but the Cowboys take care of business in the end.
Give me the Cowboys, 23-17.
Brandon Loree (6-4):
Thanksgiving prediction: I couldn’t have been happier to be wrong about my prediction for the Vikings game. I don’t think they run defense was fully tested yet, but man was that a statement win. On our roundtable livestream on Tuesday, Tony Catalina brought up the Cowboys are 3-7 in their previous 10 matchups on Thanksgiving. We all remember what happened last season with the Raiders game…
However, Dallas is taking on a beaten up Giants team for the second time this season. Their WR room is not good and their defense is down Adoree Jackson, their No. 1 cornerback. The Cowboys should follow the same game plan the Lions had and contain Saquon Barkley and force him to beat you with his arm and legs.
I think we’re all enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner with a side of a Cowboys win over New York, 30-15.
Matthew Arizzi (6-4):
The daunted Thanksgiving game! What was once a fun tradition has become a day accustomed to losing. They’ve lost four of the last five on Thanksgiving, but hopefully the tides change here. The Giants have scored more than 20 points just once in their last three games. Last week, Saquon Barkley was bottled up for 22 yards on 15 touches, which led to Daniel Jones’ first multi-interception game this season. Stop Barkley, put the pressure on Jones, win. Easier said than done, but the Lions somewhat exposed them last week.
I really liked the Cowboys last week purely based because the betting line and that same sentiment follows suit here. Coming off a win and the Giants off a loss, I’d figure this line would “level off,” but it didn’t; the Cowboys are 9-point favorites. That means we’ll take them. Big.
Cowboys 27, Giants 16.
Mike Poland (7-2):
The Cowboys went to MetLife in Week 3, with so many missing parts due to injury, and still managed to get the win. The Cowboys are now playing with huge confidence after last weeks game, playing better on offense, looking a little more healthier than the last meeting, and the Giants lost to the Detroit Lions. Daniel Jones is averaging 6.9 passing yards per attempt (22nd in the NFL). High confidence in Dallas for this years Turkey Bowl, gimme the win for Dallas and a turkey leg please.
Cowboys win 34-14.
Brian Martin (7-3):
Anything and everything can happen in a divisional game, but this is one that should heavily favor the Cowboys. They’ve already beaten the Giants once this season in Week 3 with a backup QB (Cooper Rush) and should complete the sweep on Thanksgiving if Dak Prescott and Company play anywhere close to the way they did against the Vikings.
Cowboys win, 34-17.
RJ Ochoa (6-4):
The Dallas Cowboys sent a huge statement last week with their domination of the Minnesota Vikings. As heavy favorites at home on a short week against a division rival that Dak Prescott historically dominates they have an opportunity to send another one. This Cowboys season has felt different in many ways.
That isn’t to say “it feels different” like a Super Bowl is inevitable. Where this feels different is that the team seems more capable of getting in the middle of a fight and coming out on the other side, however and whatever it takes. They are finally capable of finishing the fight, if you will.
Give me the Cowboys.
David Howman (7-3):
As much as I want to pick the Cowboys dropping another 40 burger, I just can’t; besides, burgers don’t belong on Thanksgiving anyway. I’m always cautious of games played on short weeks, because crazy things can happen, and the fact that this is a divisional game only adds to that.
Still, these are two teams trending in different directions. I see the Cowboys controlling (not dominating) the game but never quite reaching the level of blow out. With the whole nation watching this game, it’ll be close enough to provide some drama and distract people from all those dinner table conversations you’re hoping to avoid, but in the end this will be a win for America’s Team.
Cowboys win, 28-17.