It was just a week ago when the Giants were coming off another win, sitting only a game back of the Eagles in the NFC East.
But a lot has changed.
Not only have the Giants dropped to 7-3 following a loss to Detroit and are now third in the division — they’re also extremely hampered by injuries.
Tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye) is set to miss a fourth straight game. Rookie receiver Wan’Dale Robinson suffered a season-ending ACL tear. And starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson will miss 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain.
On top of that: interior offensive linemen Josh Ezeudu (neck), Jon Feliciano (neck), and Shane Lemieux (toe), offensive tackle Andrew Thomas (illness), and cornerback Fabian Moreau (oblique) didn’t practice on Tuesday.
And to make things even worse, the Giants need to turn around after their Week 11 clunker and face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The same Cowboys who handed the Vikings their second loss by a score of 40-3 on Sunday.
Should be a tough Turkey Day for Big Blue.
Giants at Cowboys
When: Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET.
Giants’ keys to victory
Force the pass. The Giants need to take the Cowboys’ rushing attack (8th in the NFL with 136.2 yards per game) out of the contest and force Dallas into 3rd-and-long situations. The Cowboys haven’t been as effective through the air, entering Thursday with just 209.4 passing yards per game (22nd in the league).
Take pressure off Jones. The Giants couldn’t run the ball against the Lions and it’s a reason why they failed to move the chains for much of the afternoon. But against Dallas, they’ll need to find success on the ground. The Cowboys struggle against the run (26th in the league) and the Giants must exploit that to take pressure off Daniel Jones, whose supporting cast is diminishing by the week.
Unleash the rushers. The Giants need to pressure quarterback Dak Prescott and overwhelm the Cowboys’ offensive line, which has struggled mightily. Dallas is tied for the worst pass block win rate at 47%, according to ESPN.
Julian Love. Again.
He’s had to become a leader in the secondary the last two weeks without safety Xavier McKinney, who’s on the non-football injury list with a hand injury.
But now, the secondary is even more shorthanded. Jackson isn’t playing and Moreau will be a game-time decision.
One of the issues with the Giants’ defensive backfield entering the season was the lack of experience. But it’s lightyears worse now, as the Giants are expected to start a rookie safety in Dane Belton and potentially Nick McCloud and/or Rodarius Williams (both second-year players) at cornerback.
Love must step up in multiple ways if the Giants wish to get anything out of their makeshift secondary.
Did you know?
This is only the second time the Giants have ever played a Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys, who have hosted a Turkey Day game every season (with the exception of two) since 1966.
The Cowboys soundly defeated Big Blue 30-3 in the first Thanksgiving meeting between these two teams in 1992. While Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns, running back Emmitt Smith rushed for one score and was on the receiving end of another.
The Giants finished that season 6-10, while the Cowboys won the NFC East at 13-3 and went on to become Super Bowl 27 champions.
I simply cannot pick the Giants in this one. They are too injured, too run-centric to keep up with the Cowboys’ offense (25.1 points per game), and struggle too much against the run.
Both teams are on a short week, sure. But given the health issues and the fact the Giants sport the weaker roster, it’s safe to say the Cowboys are snatching the Thanksgiving victory. Cowboys 31, Giants 16.