By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants came close of winning their 6th game of season, but fell short to the hands of the Indianapolis Colts 28-27. At 5-10, the Giants final game will be against division rivals the Dallas Cowboys in what many believed at the start of the season would decide the NFC east champion. Unfortunately; the Giants will be playing this game only to showcase themselves for 2019 as the Cowboys have clinched the division regardless of the outcome of the season finale. In their first meeting, the Cowboys beat the Giants convincingly 20-13 in week 2, but that was a different Giants team from the one playing now and I expect to see a very close game between division rivals. Offensively; the Cowboys are led by Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott, currently we’re not clear on whether or not the two will play the season’s finale against the Giants. However; let’s assume for this article that both will play. Dallas is averaging 20.2 points per game; while surrendering only 19.3 points per game. In contrast, the Giants offense led by rookie sensation Saquon Barkley are averaging 22.3 points per game and giving up 25.1 points per game. The differential in points between the two teams is 0.9 for Dallas and -2.8 for the Giants. Also, throw in the fact that the Giants score 7.8 less points at home than they do on the road.
Top 3 Matchups:
- 1. Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott-vs-Eli Manning & Saquon Barkley: This is under the assumption that Prescott and Elliott play the majority of the game and if so the Giants tandem of Manning and Barkley must match or outperform the dynamic duo of the Cowboys if they expect to win the game.
- Dallas defensive front 7-vs-Giants offensive line: Giants offensive line has played better in the 2nd half, but that doesn’t matter unless they can give Manning a little time in the pocket and provide a little running space for Barkley. If not, the results will not be favorable for the Giants.
- Turnover Ratio: Both teams are fairly even in this department with the Giants at +3 and the Cowboys at +2. Historically; this statistic has played a major part in the outcome of the games between the two teams, so I expect it to play a part in this one as well. The team that can create more turnovers and capitalize on them should have a better chance of winning the game.
Summary: Again, this projection and/or prediction are solely based on the playing time of Prescott, Elliott and Beckham all playing to some degree. I see this being a closer game than the last three matchups between the two, where Dallas won all three convincingly. I believe the Giants have not packed it in on the season and will continue to play hard until the final play of the season. I also believe that despite the Cowboys already clinching the division, there will be no letdown between these two teams as they really don’t like each other. Lastly, I believe if all three players (Prescott, Elliott & Beckham) are not going to play; the Giants have a better chance of winning. Therefore; I will have two predictions for the 1st time this year, based on those assumptions:
Final Score: Cowboys-23/Giants-17 (if all three play)
Final Score: Giants-17/Cowboys-13 (if none of three play)