By Michael Stewart
Introduction: The Firing of General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Ben McAdoo was well over-do and the reinstatement of Eli Manning at quarterback was expected. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnulo will focus only on the remaining four games; especially this Sunday’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. These two teams are in a totally different situation currently than they were when the season opened. This game on Sunday was projected to be a battle for first place on top of the NFL east, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Giants are battling for the top two spots in the NFL draft and the Cowboys are battling for a playoff spot with a must win approach. The Cowboys have struggled without Elliot and this has put all of the responsibilities squarely on quarterback Dak Prescott’s shoulders. Eli Manning has gotten his starting job back and he needs to show the ownership and the coaching staff that he has the capability of being a starting quarterback for the Giants in 2018.
Top 3 Matchups:
- Eli Manning-vs-Dak Prescott: Manning needs to match Prescott’s numbers or come close to them if the Giants have any chance of an upset. No fumbles or interceptions by Manning will go a long way in keeping this game close. Basically, Manning needs to play his best game of the year.
- Giant’s running game-vs-Cowboys running game: Giants have been bad all year (89.1); whereas the Cowboys have struggled since Elliot’s suspension (138.8, mostly with Elliot); until last week against the Redskins. Giants need to produce like they did against the Broncos by using all running backs available and hope to find a hot hand.
- Turnovers: The Giants have to create a couple of turnovers on defense and avoid the turnover bug on offense if they expect to make this a game and actually expect to win. The Defense needs to step up in a big way and lead this team to a victory.
What to look for: The Cowboys game plan will be a balance attack as the running game came alive last week against the Redskins. Prescott’s mobility will be a problem for the Giants and if they can’t contain him; look for the Cowboys to come up some big plays down field. The Giants will also attempt a balance attack, but will abandon the running game if the Cowboys defense shows up against the run. Manning will target tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (questionable) as his main targets. The Giants defense will be asked for a miracle and that is to play like they did in 2016 when they went 11-5.
Final Score Summary: This is going to be a very emotional game and not just because it’s the Giants against the Cowboys. The firing of GM Jerry Reese and HC Ben McAdoo and the return of Eli Manning under center could lift the Giants to an early lead in this game. Unfortunately; there are four quarters in football and I believe in the end the Cowboys with their backs up against the wall will prevail in a closer game than many have predicted.