The Dallas Cowboys (9-6) will head to Metlife Stadium to battle the New York Giants (5-10) in Week 17 (December 30, 2018 at 1:00pm EST). The Giants opened as 6.0-point favorites.
Dallas’ offense is dependent on their ability to run the ball. But it hasn’t gotten them very far, as they only score 20.2 points per game.
Without their success on the ground, though, it would be even less. The Cowboys churn out 127.5 yards per game on the ground, led by Ezekiel Elliott.
Dak Prescott has been mediocre for Dallas, throwing for 3,498 yards and 18 TDs, but the offense is most lethal when Elliott has the ball. The RB has rushed for 1,434 yards (most in the league) and six rushing TDs this season.
But the Cowboys will have to find new ways to get Elliott the ball in space, after he only managed 85 rushing yards. Getting Elliott the rock early and often will be crucial in Week 17.
A ton of points isn’t something Dallas has needed very often this season, though, thanks to their brick wall of a defense. The Cowboys are only surrendering 19.3 PPG, good for fourth-best in the league.
This defense has been so good due to their ability to stuff the run. Dallas only cedes 91.3 rushing yards per game (5th). But based off the few points scored against them, the opposition clearly isn’t having an easy time throwing the ball against them, either.
The offense Dallas will see in Week 17 isn’t horrible, but they’re also not being described as good. Without Saquon Barkley making a highlight reel play what seems to be every week, New York certainly wouldn’t be averaging 22.3 points per game (20th).
Barkley has bailed out Eli Manning all season, assisting the Giants’ 13th-ranked passing attack.
The QB has thrown for 3,998 yards with a 19:10 TD to INT ratio (92.7 passer rating). But much of that has come from checking the ball down to Barkley. Odell Beckham Jr has done his fair share, too, hauling in 77 passes for 1,052 yards and six TDs.
But this offense won’t ever be feared until teams are forced to protect against a deep ball. Defenses stacking the box has led to NYG possessing just the 25th-ranked ground game.
Facing a Cowboys defense this week that allows 91.3 yards per game on the ground (5th), this probably won’t be the game to get Saquon Barkley (1,198 rushing yards this season) going.
The Giants defense has simply not been good. The 123.1 yards per game on the ground they give up (23rd) has resulted in them surrendering an unsettling 25.1 points per game (23rd). New York better be prepared for a healthy dose of Ezekiel Elliott in Week 17.
The last time these two teams met was September 16th, 2018, when Dallas defeated the Giants 20-13. The Cowboys were 3.0-point favorites in that game.