Welcome to Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys have won three straight games are looking to win four games in a row for the first time since November of 2018. With a record of 3-1, the Cowboys are tied with three other teams just behind Arizona and the Rams for the best record in the NFC.
This Sunday, the Cowboys revisit the divisional portion of their schedule, facing off against the New York Giants for the final home game in the month of October. The Giants come in fresh off their victory in 2021 looking to build on that momentum and get back into the NFC East race.
Every week it seems like there are always mini subplots to each matchup and this one is no different. The media will undoubtedly be fixated on revisiting quarterback Dak Prescott’s gruesome injury that ended his 2020 season. Once that gets exhausted, they will certainly turn to the return of long-time former head coach Jason Garrett who now runs the Giants offense.
Can the Giants pull off a major upset or will the Cowboys win their fourth straight game? Let’s get to know thy enemy a little better as we break down the matchup between New York and Dallas.
As you might expect from a team that is 1-3, the Giants do not really do anything really well. Coming into this game, they are eighth in passing offense but that’s where the positivity begins and ends.
The Dallas Cowboys have a great shot at defeating the New York Giants
New York is still trying to figure out how to get star running back Saquon Barkley back in the mix as he is clearly their most talented offensive player. Last week may have begun that process as Barkley touched the ball 18 times, amassed 126 yards combined on the ground and through the air, and scored two touchdowns, the last of which won the game in overtime.
Those 18 combined rushes and receptions were the second-highest total for Barkley this season as New York has tried to be cautious working him back in the mix after a lost 2020 season due to a torn ACL. It is fair to say they are taking the governor off at this point so the Cowboys should expect a heavy dose of Saquon.
Dallas has an odd history when it comes to trying to stop Barkley. Last year, they never were tasked with the challenge. In the two years previously, however, Barkley has had one very good game and one dismal day in each season.
Ironically, Barkley has never walked off the field victoriously when playing against the Cowboys, regardless of his production. Dallas will be out looking to keep that streak alive Sunday. That effort will greatly be assisted by keeping Saquon as much of a non-factor as possible.
Defensively, the Giants are 20th against the pass and 21st against the run. As such, the Cowboys’ only offensive problem should be trying to decide which way to dissect their opponent. Right now, it is fair to say that no one is playing better than Dallas when it comes to offense.
As I mentioned in the “good” portion of last week’s recap of the Carolina win, the Cowboys rushing attack is in a groove right now. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is fourth in the league in rushing yards, while his backup, Tony Pollard is 15th. Pollard’s 6.8 yards per carry are currently second to only the Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones, for best in the league.
The passing game is just as diverse and unstoppable. Both CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper have nearly identical stats (20-264-1 for Lamb, 22-258-3 for Coop) while tight end Dalton Schultz is also contributing at a high level catching 20 balls for 201 yards and three touchdowns. As such, Prescott has the third-best quarterback rating in all of football.
Prescott also has a pretty impressive history when facing the Giants as he is undefeated against them since 2017 with four straight games putting up 35 or more points in which he played the entire game.
No matter how the Cowboys decide to attack, they should be successful in doing so either way. Ultimately, the Giants have not faced a team as talented as Dallas in 2021. If the Cowboys can jump out to an early, big lead, it’s hard to see New York coming back like they did last week.
The Giants will once again be without two receivers in Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. If Dallas can stop deep-ball threat John Ross, III from making any big plays, they should have no issues making New York struggle to score.
Before the season started, I predicted Dallas would win this game 41-20 and I see no reason to back down from that. With the Cowboys being a touchdown favorite, I think you can safely take that bet and make a little money while enjoying another Dallas dubya.