Monday night’s game at Met Life stadium will feature old-school jerseys to compliment an old-school offensive mentality as both teams try to keep their fate out of their quarterback’s hands. There are four very crafty coordinators involved in this game so no fan or talking head can predict with any certainty how it will play out. Yet considering both teams’ current personnel and their statistics of the last two weeks, we could be set for a black and blue smashmouth ball game that harkens to a time before the league manipulated the rules to promote higher scoring.
The Giants bring a revitalized, Saquon Barkley who is running angry and behind a line that occasionally opens holes for him, which is a new concept for the team this year. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliot will be running behind what is likely the worst line of his career, but which is still probably better than what Barkley has ever had previously.
Elliot is coming off another 1000-yard season despite not being the center of his offense last year. He will be used as a battering ram at this point in his career, and without Leonard Williams in the Giant’s lineup, his job has gotten easier.
Tony Pollard is Dallas’s big-play threat out of the backfield who currently has six receptions for 69 yards and another 51 yards rushing. He is a change of pace back who typically sees around 35% of the rushing attempts but this year is seeing double the receiving targets than Elliot. The Giants did pretty well against a hard runner like Henry and a quicker back in McCaffrey, this week they will aim to do both.
Free agency stripped the Cowboys of both center Connor Williams and right tackle La’el Collins. The left tackle and veteran stalwart, Tyron Smith has been on injured reserve since camp. But this is far from the car wreck the Giants floundered with when their line was decimated with injuries annually over the last decade. There is no comparison, for the Cowboys consistently draft linemen and their backups are mostly day one, and day two draft picks with experience.
The new left tackle is a rookie first-round pick who had a reputation as one of the best run-blocking tackles in college football. Both third-year Center Tyler Biadasz and fourth-year guard Connor McGovern return and are at a point in their careers where linemen start hitting their stride.
Seven-time Pro Bowler Zack Martin will be back at right guard leaving the only real long term concern as third year, undrafted free agent Terrence Steele at right tackle,. Though prone to commit penalties he has been playing much better than Giants tackle Even Neil thus far this season. Dallas has offensive line concerns, but not Giant, game breaking line concerns. Hopefully the Giant’s can prove otherwise.
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