The Dallas Cowboys will look to improve on that 7-3 record when the New York Giants come to town for the Thanksgiving Day/Odell Beckham Jr. Bowl game at AT&T Stadium.
Both teams have had very different results compared to last Sunday when Dallas outplayed the Minnesota Vikings while the Detroit Lions easily overcame the Giants in a 31-18 win.
How do the Cowboys get their eighth win of the season against the Giants?
It would help overcome some illness issues… and here are Dallas’ inactives: LB Anthony Barr (hamstring), NT Johnathan Hankins (illness), CB Kelvin Joseph (illness), DE Tarell Basham (illness), DE Takk McKinley, S Markquese Bell and QB Will Grier.
And… by doing these five things.
Start fast: This was the trigger for the Cowboys’ victory over the Vikings. Micah Parsons fired Kirk Cousins on the opening drive, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by the Cowboys and converted to points.
Before Minnesota knew it, Dallas was leading 23-3 at halftime. While scoring points from the first seven offensive drives like they did against the Vikings isn’t sustainable, an early goal puts pressure on the Giants from the start and would have them play from behind.
The last thing Dallas wants is for the game to get close to the fourth quarter. Many say the Cowboys are the better team; Prove it, hitting often and early to crush and crush the exhausted Giants.
Control Saquon Barkley: Possibly the only arrow in Brian Daboll’s quiver that could hurt Dallas. The league knows that one of the Dallas defense’s few weaknesses is its ability to stop the run.
One could argue that the Vikings got out of the running game too early last week. Dallas needs to limit Barkley. His 22 yards from 15 carries from last Sunday probably won’t happen again, but the Cowboys won’t want Barkley to ruin their Thanksgiving celebration.
Get after Daniel Jones: As coach Mike McCarthy said, “sacks are a privilege,” so stopping the game in progress first is paramount. Do that; then the cowboys can be after Daniel Jones. The Giants are down 30 sacks this year (ranked eighth), while the Dallas defensive juggernaut tops the league with 42 sacks.
There is a possibility of making Jones’ life at AT&T Stadium seriously uncomfortable. …but watch out for Jones the runner.
create sales: It’s more complex than it used to be against the Giants. Jones had a bad habit of fumbling and throwing interceptions in his first two seasons (22 in 27 games). But that has improved in his last 21 games.
Last season, Jones threw just seven interceptions and only has four to 10 games.
Another thing is that the Giants’ offense has turned over the ball just 11 times, three of them against the Detroit Lions last Sunday.
But what Dallas excels at is stealing the ball (16 turnovers in 10 games). We’ve seen the importance of winning the revenue battle, and for the Cowboys, it’s one they must win.
Convert third downs: It sounds simple enough, but one of the Cowboys’ most conflicting issues has been their ability to convert terzdowns. A big reason for Minnesota’s 40-3 demolition last Sunday was their ability to convert their third-place chances (12 of 17 went 70 percent). That will work.
On average, however, Dallas only converts 41.54 percent of his attempts (ranked 13th in the NFL). It’s been a focus for offense and McCarthy all season and has to be a focus against the Giants.
However, that will be challenging. New York is the fifth-best third-down defense in the NFL, allowing just 34 percent of attempts to be converted. Above all, this will play a crucial role in the outcome of the game. …with Dallas favored by as many as nine points and may have the talent to make it happen.
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