Week one of the regular season is finally upon us as the Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in the first of two meetings with their division rival in 2019. When we last left this matchup in 2018, the Cowboys and Giants played a 36-35 shootout that saw Dak Prescott hit Cole Beasley deep in the back of the end zone to bring the game within a point. The Cowboys would go on to win on a Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup two-point conversion attempt.
It was a fantastic game that showed off just what Dak Prescott could do in an offense that allowed him to sling the football around. On that Sunday before the playoffs, Prescott completed 27 of 44 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns. He posted a passer rating of 120.2.
Tight End Blake Jarwin was the leading receiver on the day catching seven passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Against the Giants, Jarwin provided a glimpse of the potential that the Dallas Cowboys have seen in him over the last couple of years. His huge game created hype and hope that the team may have found the tight end of the future when Jason Witten decides to retire for good.
The biggest storyline heading into this game will focus on Kellen Moore and his ability as a play-caller. On Sunday afternoon, Kellen Moore will give us a better indication of what his take on the offense will look like. We've talked about it for months and now we'll get to see it in a game that matters. If the preseason is any indication, the Cowboys offense has taken to the wrinkles that he's added this year.
- The Dallas Cowboys lead the all-time series 66-46-2. Jason Garrett is 10-6 vs the Giants in his career as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
- After losing twice to the New York Giants in 2016, the Dallas Cowboys have gone 4-0 against their division rival since. The Cowboys have an average margin of victory of 11 points over the last four games. The closest victory by one point in the week 17 contest from last season.
- With Odell Beckham Jr. off to Cleveland, the New York Giants' leading receiver that is returning is Sterling Shepherd. In six games against the Dallas Cowboys in his three-year career, Shepard is averaging 3.6 receptions per game and 38.83 yards. He's only scored one touchdown against the Cowboys, his rookie debut back in 2016.
- The New York Giants scored more points over the course of the season than the Dallas Cowboys did in 2018 by 30 points. The big difference in their season outcomes is that the Dallas Cowboys defense allowed 88 fewer points or 5.5 points per game less than the Giants.
Inside The Numbers
For the second time in three seasons, Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL in rushing. Hot on his tail was Saquon Barkley, who put up a tremendous rookie season of his own. It's very likely that these two will be battling it out for the NFL's rushing title again in 2019.
In Eli Manning's last eight games against the Dallas Cowboys, he's had a passer rating of 90 or better only two times. In that time frame, the Cowboys are 5-3 against the New York Giants.
Jason Witten, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford and Jamize Olawale represent the only starters for the Dallas Cowboys over the age of 30.
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In six games against the New York Giants, Dak Prescott's posted a passer rating better than 90 four times. He's also had two games with a passer rating greater than 120. Each of the 90 or better passer rating games have come during the Dallas Cowboys four-game win streak over the Giants.
Both times Dak Prescott posted a passer rating above 120 against the New York Giants happened in a game without Ezekiel Elliott.
In 2018, the Dallas Cowboys were fifth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game with 94. Though they were really good in this area for most of 2018, games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs reveal that the team still has room for improvement. With upgraded depth along the defensive line and at linebacker, there's reason to believe that the Cowboys can make that improvement.
The number of times Eli Manning has been picked off by the Dallas Cowboys over their last six contest. The only game in which Manning didn't throw an interception against the Cowboys over that span was the week two contest that the Dallas Cowboys won 20-13.
Despite Saquon Barkley's tremendous rookie season, the New York Giants ranked 24th in the NFL in rushing yards in 2018.
Represents the average age of the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster in addition to Ezekiel Elliott who's yet to be added to the roster. In 2019, they'll be one of the youngest teams in the NFL yet again, but they're a team with a lot of experience at the same time.
This Sunday will mark Eli Manning's 30th regular-season game against the Dallas Cowboys including the 2007 playoff game. In his career, he's gone 13-16 in his career against the Cowboys. Though the regular season hasn't been kind to Mr. Manning, posting a passer rating under 90 in 14 of the 29 matchups, he is 1-0 against the Cowboys in their lone playoff matchup back in 2007. In that game, Manning posted a passer rating of 132.4, though he only attempted 18 passes in the game.
Dak Prescott will sling the ball around more against the Giants than any other team. He averages 37 attempts per game against the Giants for his career, and has 6 touchdown passes of 30+ yards against them.
As Bobby Belt points out, Dak Prescott averages 37 attempts per game against the New York Giants in his career. Over his 48 game career, Prescott averages 30 attempts per game.
The New York Giants have done a tremendous job keeping Ezekiel Elliott in check since entering the league in 2016. In four games, Elliott averages just 68 rushing yards per game. For his career, Elliott is averaging 101.2 rushing yards per game. Elliott has only two 100 yard games against the New York Giants and he's never run for more than 107 yards in those five games.
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With the difficult schedule, the Dallas Cowboys face in the second half of the season, it's vitally important that they get off to a hot start against the New York Giants in week one. There are no gimmes in the NFL, but this matchup against a much less talented Giants squad is as close as you'll find aside from any team playing the Miami Dolphins this season.
The Dallas Cowboys are simply the better team in this matchup, though being a divisional game, anything could happen. The Dallas Cowboys need to come out firing on all cylinders. They can't allow the Giants to hang around in the game and risk losing it. If there's one change I hope is made in the offensive philosophy in 2019 is that it'll get more aggressive.
Everything is set up nicely for the Dallas Cowboys to make a run at their sixth Lombardi Trophy, but now it comes down to what the players and the coaches do once they hit the field. I fully anticipate the Cowboys to come out ready to exploit and take advantage of a Giants defense that doesn't have the skill to match the Cowboys talent on offense.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 31 - New York Giants 17.
The Brady Report: Cowboys Defense Run Over In Primetime Loss
Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings was a tough one to take for the Dallas Cowboys. They could easily be sitting here today at 7-2 or 6-3, comfortably ahead of the Eagles for first place in the division and fighting for a first round bye in the postseason.
Instead, they are barely over .500 on the season and face de facto must win games each week from here on out. Obviously they let this one slip away, but there's a whole seven games to go before we know the fate of the 2019 Dallas Cowboys.
Let's discuss what went wrong (and right) last week during the Cowboys 28-24 loss.
- What more can we say about Dak Prescott? The Cowboys franchise quarterback was incredible yet again on Sunday night, having arguably his best game to date even in defeat. Prescott was in complete control of the offense, and showcased his mastery by bailing the Cowboys out with some big third down throws. Prescott finished with 397 yards and 3 touchdowns, and continues to force the hand of the Jones family to break out the checkbook this offseason.
- Much like Dak Prescott, I'm running out of adjectives to describe the play of wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper has been a God-send for this Cowboys offense over the last calendar year, looking like one of the best wide outs in the league week in and week out. Cooper went for 147 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches, and should have been given a chance to win the game on the team's final drive.
- Alright, that's enough praise in defeat. Let's talk about the negatives. The defensive tackles were flat-out awful. No matter who it was - Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder - anyone who was asked to defend the run at the 1 or 3 technique position had some very low moments against the Vikings. Minnesota bullied the Cowboys upfront on both the sides of the ball, en route to over 150 yards on the ground for this Vikings offense. Dalvin Cook and the Vikings offensive line won this game, and the Cowboys interior defensive line needs to be better if they hope to actually compete against good teams.
- The defensive tackles were bad against the run Sunday night, but let's not let the linebackers off the hook. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are each immensely talented, but neither has been as consistent as a run defender as they need to be going forward. Smith looked flat-out dis-engaged at times during this one, and both linebackers were run over by interior offensive linemen getting to the second level. I've often praised Smith for his versatility and what it does to unleash this defense, but he was plain bad last week.
- Of course, we can't let the coaching staff off the hook for this loss either. Head coach Jason Garrett made several questionable fourth down calls down the stretch of the game, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was determined to pound the ball on first down despite achieving next to no success. On the defensive end, Kris Richard's defensive backs were toasted. Chidobe Awuzie continues to look like a liability opposite Byron Jones, and the safety spot next to Xavier Woods has been a massive hole all season. And, while both Jones and Woods have been mostly good this year, neither was particularly impressive either during this loss. It was a total and complete defensive failure. This team needs to get better fast, and it all starts at the top with the coaching staff.
Loss to Minnesota Could be the Final Nail in Jason Garrett’s Coffin
The 2019 NFL season kind of seemed like a do or die situation for the Dallas Cowboys current Head Coach Jason Garrett. He is currently in the last year of his contract and his future with the Cowboys organization could be hanging in the balance, especially after the devastating loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
If Jason Garrett isn't extended beyond this season, this loss to Minnesota could possibly be where his career with the Dallas Cowboys started to circle the drain. There are still several games left on the Cowboys schedule this season, but this one loss could be the one that ends up knocking them out of the playoffs. If that's true, it's hard to believe JG will be retained.
Jerry Jones, and son Stephen, have both fully supported Jason Garrett since he became the Cowboys full-time head coach back in 2011 after serving as the interim HC for Wade Phillips in 2010. That's nearly a decade of the Jones' sticking by JG through all of the thick and thin over years. That unwavering support however could be coming to an end though.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. As a head coach Jason Garrett is slightly above average according to his all-time win/loss record. His regular-season record as the HC with the Cowboys is 82-62 (.569) and he's 2-3 (.400) in the postseason. Add all of that up and he's 84-65 (.564) in his career… slightly above average.
If I know anything about the Jones', I know getting the Dallas Cowboys back to the promised land as one of the best teams in the NFL is at the top of their list. That's why we've seen them over the years take chances on players other teams wouldn't in order to put together the most competitive roster they possibly could. Now that attention might need to be shifted from the players to the head coach.
Much like the Jones', I've supported and stood by Jason Garrett over the years. That support is dwindling though after each and every loss this season, at least on my part. Personally, I'm ready to find some new blood and move on. What the Jones' end up doing though is completely up in the air.
I want to believe the Dallas Cowboys are ready to move on from JG, but I'm not completely convinced. The fact that his current contract is about to expire after the season suggests they're at least considering parting ways, but that's all it does. I think how the rest of season turns out after the devastating loss to the Vikings will end up determining his fate.
If JG somehow sneaks the Cowboys into the playoffs it could save his job. That unfortunately is no easy thing to do with the teams they have left to play this season. Because of that, the Week 10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings could end up being the final nail in Jason Garrett's coffin.
What do you think? Is it time to part ways with Jason Garrett?
Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s Status Still Unknown for Cowboys Game
The Dallas Cowboys are headed to Detroit this Sunday for a Week 11 meeting with the Lions. As Dallas tries to get back to winning games, they may get a boost from the absence of Lions' Quarterback Matthew Stafford. After missing last week's game with a back injury, Stafford's status for this week remains unclear.
Stafford was a limited participant in practices all of Week 10 for Detroit and went into their game with the Chicago Bears as a game-time decision. He was ultimately ruled out due to fractures in his back; the first start Stafford's missed for the Lions since the 2010 season.
Jeff Driskel got the start as the Lions fell in Chicago. He is 1-5 as an NFL starter overall, going 1-4 in games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.
The Lions are now 3-5-1 on the year and at the bottom of the NFC North. They are also far behind in the Wild Card race, which leads to speculation that they could shut Stafford down for the season to preserve his long-term health. Based on Matthew's contract, the earliest Detroit can easily get out from his contract is after the 2020 season.
For his part, Matthew Stafford has said he has no plans on staying out this season as long he's medically cleared to play. He certainly would love to be active this Sunday against the Cowboys, the team of his youth, after playing his high school football in Dallas.
Even if Stafford plays, Dallas has done solidly overall against opposing quarterbacks in 2019. They are sixth in passing yards allowed per game and 14th in opponent passer rating.
Detroit is fourth in passing offense right now in the NFL but that was based on eight games with Stafford at QB. Jeff Driskel will not perform at that same level, and the Lions' rushing attack has been very weak since Kerryon Johnson went on injured reserve.
We'll see in the coming days if Matthew Stafford is at practice for Detroit and to what extent. But even if he does practice some, as he did last week, it could once again be a last-minute decision for the Lions if Stafford actually plays on Sunday.
With the Cowboys desperate for a win, they'll take all the help they can get.
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