STAR PREVIEW: Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
ANDY RICHMOND is a lifelong punter and sports enthusiast who now writes extensively on horse racing and the NFL. His CV includes long spells on Timeform Radio and Racing UK having previously held several positions at the then-fledgling Betfair Exchange where he worked for six years. He has a particular love for the statistical and analytical side of sports which fits in well with the NFL. He writes all the NFL content on Paul Jones subscription service as well as having his own betting advisory service.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Old foes go head-to-head with the Cowboys a last-second field goal away from being 4-0 and the Giants for all their coaching deficiencies heading in the right direction despite a 1-3 record.
Dallas after their Week 1 defeat to the Buccaneers have reeled off three straight wins scoring 97 points along the way with quarterback Dal Prescott looking better than ever after missing a large portion of last season due to injury. Prescott is one of the leading MVP contenders and likes to spread the love around the Cowboys offence and he’s shown a propensity so far this season for exploiting the specific weaknesses in opponent defences and taking what he is given.
Prescott certainly isn’t short of targets and he should get plenty of opportunities here to exploit a Giants defence which ranks bottom four in sack rate (4%) and also languish in the same area in quarterback hit rate (9.3%). All of those numbers should allow Prescott to increase his 75% completion percentage this year he certainly has enough different targets to aim at in the passing game. Wide receivers Amari Cooper (nursing injuries) and CeeDee Lamb have been the biggest threats in that facet of the game but the tight-end combination of Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin have also emerged as legitimate menaces and that aforementioned quartet are all capable of causing the Giants defence problems.
The biggest problem for New York defensively may be containing the 1-2 run-game punch of the Cowboys. The combination of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have Dallas back on top of the rushing ranks (165.8 yards per game) and face a New York stop unit allowing 4.5 yards per carry (24th) and 122.8 yards per game on the ground and they have yet to face an offensive line as good as the one the Cowboys are going to field on Sunday. Elliott went for 143 yards on 20 carries last week and averaged 7.2 yards per carry with a long of 47 yards and that scenario could well be replicated this week.
One of the most surprising facets of Week 4 was the Giants beatdown of the previously stout Saints pass defence with New York quarterback Daniel Jones throwing for a career-high 402 yards despite missing two of his leading receivers (Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton) both of whom look set to miss this trip to Jerry Jones World. In total the G-Men’s offence put up a total of 485 yards on the Saints with premier running back Saquon Barkley looking to be back in top form garnering 126 yards in total with two TD’s along the way.
Although the Cowboys defence has improved this year there is still a feeling that they could be vulnerable especially to big plays which have continued to be a problem for them; they have given up 21 plays of 20 yards or more through four games. The Giants aren’t shy with regard to bigger plays and already have 16 plays of at least 20 yards this year.
Jones has been much maligned in his time with the Giants but there are signs that things are starting to click in this his third season in the Big Apple. He has just one interception all season and that came on a Hail Mary in the Saints game and looking at the way the Cowboys have played defence this year he won’t face much pocket pressure. The Cowboys have only blitzed at a rate of 21% this year and recorded a meagre nine sacks plus they are still without leading pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cowboys are giving up 6.4 yards per play to opponents (third-worst in the NFL) and without those game-changing takeaways (lead the league with eight interceptions) things could be much different for Dallas heading into Week 5. Takeaways are a very tough stat to depend on week in and week out and this Giants offence may just be a little underrated.
As good as the Cowboys have looked of late this is a divisional game and they can be a very different beast despite the fact that Dallas have won seven of their last eight games against the Giants. Another constant in these contests has been their ability to rack up points with this pair topping the total in four of their last five matchups while going over the total in nine of their last dozen clashes in Jerry’s house. The Over is 19-7 in the Cowboys’ last 26 home games and I suspect that we are in for another entertaining stanza this time around and with that in mind backing the over on points and touchdown lines is very much in play.
PROFIT/LOSS (OCTOBER 2021): PROFT 5.34 points
(Excluding ante-post recommendations CLICK HERE)