By Michael Stewart/@golferbad

The New York Giants season boils down to their final game of the year to decide NFC East division champions. Let’s breakdown a quick scenario’s to have a better understanding of what’s at stake. A Giants win with a Washington loss puts the Giants in the playoffs for the first time since 2016; it’s that simple. 

However; if Washington wins (playing the Eagles), it doesn’t matter what the Giants do. The Giants have been floundering with a three-game losing streak as the Cowboys have a three-game winning streak coming into this game. The Giants are playing at home and although you would think that matters; think again. The Cowboys have won three straight at Metlife Stadium and seven overall coming into this deciding matchup. Earlier in the season the Giants lost a close one to the Cowboys 37-34 in a game that saw two touchdowns called back due to penalties by the Giants that cost them the win. Here are my top 5 ways the Giants could win:

  • Hog Mollies Where have you Been: The Giants offensive line has disappeared over the last three games; which have all been loses. Over their last three games the Giants have a total of 202 yards on the ground; which translates to 67.1 yards per game. The Dallas defense has been their weakest link this season currently ranked 30th in the league and have yielded 161 rushing yards per game. If the Giants want to continue playing this season, they must exploit the Dallas run defense.
  • Giant’s offense M.I.A:  The Giants offense over their three-game losing streak have a total of 26 points (not a misprint) and that’s not going to cut it for this crucial matchup. It was expected that Daniel Jones would have a little rust last week after missing the previous game against the Browns. However; there shouldn’t be any excuses for this game as Jones must play the way he did during the Giants four-game winning streak (mistake free football). In order for him to do that he needs help from the offensive line to provide him ample time to throw the ball and also to have a solid running attack. He needs his skills players to make plays; which hasn’t been the case this season. Wide Receiver Darius Slayton had his best game against Dallas in their last meeting collecting 128 yards and a touchdown.
  • Defense to the Rescue: The Giants defense has been called upon week after week to be the backbone for this team and for the most part they have. Well, they will be asked to do it again against a Dallas offense that has been getting better over the 2nd half of the season and averaging 25.1 points per game. Quarterback Andy Dalton has given the Cowboys stability at quarterback and the Cowboys three-headed monster in Elliot, Cooper and Lamb create nightmare matchups for the Giants. All three are capable of making big plays in a blink of an eye and if the Giants defense can’t find a way to neutralize them, it’s going to be a long afternoon for the Giants and their fans.
  • Zone & 3rd down conversions: The Giants have been dismal basically all season in these two departments with an overall 45% (30th) in the Red Zone and a 37.70% (28th) to the Cowboys 52% in the Red Zone (28th) and 40.91% (17th) on 3rd down conversions. The importance in these two stats is evident for the Giants to have any remote chance of winning this game and proclaiming NFC east champs. If not, the Giants will be preparing for the off-season.
  • Give and Take:  The Giants have a modest +1 in the turnover department to the Cowboys -4. When a team lacks the offensive punch like the Giants have been showing, the importance of creating turnovers in your favor is magnified and literally becomes a must for them to have any chance of winning.  The Dallas offense equally gives the ball away via an interception (12) or fumbles (13), so it’s up to the Giants defense to be opportunistic on both options and make plays.

Final Thoughts: Before the season I predicted the Giants would finish with a 6-10 record and win the final game of the season against Dallas. Even during the middle of this season when the Giants seemed to be turning the corner; I view this game as a win for the Giants to end on a positive note; not expecting this game to have playoff implications. Now with less than a couple of days away I’m not so sure that the Giants will win this game. Certainly they have a chance; which any team does on any given Sunday, however; the Giants have looked lost during their last victory in Seattle and the Cowboys look more like a playoff team.

The Giants offensively lack players who can make big plays at any given time; the Cowboys on the other hand have at least three who can. The Giants offense highest output over the last four games has been 17 points over Seattle (44 total points), the Cowboys are averaging 36 points per game (108 total points) during their three game winning streak. The last time the Giants scored over 20 points in a game was six weeks ago in their win against the Eagles when they scored 27.

The Giants need to score at the minimum 24 points to have any chance of winning this game. I do believe the Giants defense will give their all and leave everything they’ve got on the field, however; I don’t think it’s going to be enough to advance to the playoffs as the Giants will finish at 5-11.

Final Score: Dallas 27/Giants 17