Giants vs Cowboys Week 5: History, player to watch, gut prediction

Dallas Cowboys (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys
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New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys “Under the Radar” Players

Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB

New York Giants: Kadarius Toney, WR

Step on down, LVE, your time to shine. Following the sudden departure of his former fellow linebacker, Jaylon Smith, I think the Wolf Hunter shows up this Sunday for the Cowboys’ defense. He has already flashed this season as Cowboys fans recall in his rookie year when he made the Pro Bowl. He knows he is in a contract year and saw the front office is not afraid to make big moves. This is exactly why I think he has a big game Sunday.

The Giants have two receivers, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, each listed as questionable with a hamstring injury for this week after missing last week’s game. Hamstring injuries are tough for me to see a guy being back to 100% right away. The Giants will likely need to lean on running back, Saquon Barkley, after his resurgence last week when he put up 126 total yards and two scores.

The Giants know that Cowboys linebacker, Micah Parsons, can keep up with Barkley, his fellow Penn State Nittany Lion. That is why I think they manipulate schemes to get Vander Esch matching up with Barkley in the passing game and try to get Barkley to the edge in the run game on downs Vander Esch is on the field. The Cowboys need to see that 4.65 40 speed out of him in following Barkley in the passing game and catching him sideline to sideline.

I think Vander Esch plays with a sense of urgency following the release of Jaylon Smith and reminds everyone who he is. Let’s get a little crazy with it. I’m going to predict eight tackles and one big play that is the likes of an interception, fumble recovery, or forced fumble by the Boise State product.

The Giants seem to have figured out how to use their first-round draft pick, receiver, Kadarius Toney. After 14 receiving yards through the first two weeks, Toney contributed nine catches for 78 yards last week. With Shepard and Slayton questionable, Toney could be in line for the lion’s share of targets even if they suit up.

With 4.39 40 speed, Toney is an absolute burner. The Cowboys’ defense hasn’t had to focus on a mix of speed and agility like this, yet. If the Giants have any sense of creative play-calling, they will use Toney on screens, jet sweeps, and deep shots to attack in a myriad of different ways like he was utilized as a Florida Gator. He put up nearly 1,600 receiving yards and almost 600 rushing yards in college.

Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones, is quietly averaging nearly 300 yards through the air each game. Regardless of who is lined up out wide, I have a suspicion he will try to keep the rhythm with Toney. If I am the Giants, I put Toney in the slot to stay away from star cornerback, Trevon Diggs, and force a mismatch or make the Cowboys provide safety help. I would put cornerback Jourdan Lewis on Toney when in the slot and shade over free safety Malik Hooker for help over the top.