Just because the Cowboys have stunk on defense does not mean they will stink this weekend. They have heard for weeks how lousy they’ve played on that side of the ball, so figure this is the game they straighten some things out. This does not feel like an opportune spot for the Giants in any way, shape or form.
Cowboys 34, Giants 20
Cowboys WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb vs. Giants CBs James Bradberry and (fill in the blank)
This is the most explosive group to confront the Giants this season, and they probably are not ready for it. Bradberry is at the top of his game, but will be stretched thin working between Cooper (37-401) and Lamb (21-309). Lamb, a rookie, is averaging 14.7 yards per catch. The second corner spot is a big issue for the Giants. It is Ryan Lewis’ turn after Isaac Yiadom and Corey Ballentine failed. Another factor here: Michael Gallup has 13 receptions averaging 21.2 yards — he’s a big-time big-play threat. Rookie slot corner Darnay Holmes will have his hands full with any of the Cowboys targets he has to deal with.
Help, please: Sure, Daniel Jones has not been great in his second season. Consider this: How many times has he blatantly missed one of his receivers running free? And this: How many times have any of those receivers run free, thanks to their own physical skills or because the scheme designed by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett got them free? Look what is going on with Josh Allen in Buffalo. His passer rating in his second NFL season was 85.3. The Bills traded four draft picks to the Vikings to obtain Stefon Diggs, and Allen’s passer rating through four games is 122.7, third-best in the league.
“That quarterback has taken off,’’ former NFL quarterback and current SiriusXM NFL radio host Jim Miller said. “If Daniel Jones gets that opportunity, he’ll fly with it, too.’’
The truth hurts: What Cowboys strong safety Xavier Woods said of his struggling (to be kind) defense did not sound good — at all — but is more accurate than many outsiders want to believe. The Cowboys allow 36.5 points a game, leading to speculation they are not hustling or competing hard enough.
“Our effort’s been good,’’ Woods said. “I mean on certain plays some guys, me included, there may be a lack, but overall the effort is there. We’re in the NFL. You don’t expect guys full speed for 70 plays. That’s not possible. But you’re going to push all you can.’’
This sounds worse than it actually is — and you can be sure Joe Judge or someone on the Giants’ coaching staff used this to remind their players about giving maximum effort.
Center of attention: The Giants could have addressed their tenuous situation at center by selecting Tyler Biadasz in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Biadasz was dealing with a shoulder issue that dropped his draft grade, in the eyes of the Giants, even though Biadasz was a workhorse in the famed Wisconsin offensive line conveyor belt. Biadasz will make his first NFL start in this game for Dallas, subbing for injured Joe Looney. Biadasz, called “Badass’’ for his demeanor on the field, played 81 snaps last week after Looney went down on the first play in the loss to the Browns. The Giants are sticking with Nick Gates as their center and will see what they passed up in Biadasz, considered the Cowboys’ center of the future (and now the present).
Slow and unsteady: What’s the use of having a big arm if Jones does not use it? If you haven’t noticed (you probably have), the Giants’ offense is a pop-gun attack. Jones has thrown the ball 20 yards or more down the field just 5.4 percent of the time (eight of his 149 passes). The only quarterback with significant snaps and fewer deep passes is 49ers backup Nick Mullens.
“I think we are aggressive,’’ Jones said. “When we certainly have the shots, it’s up to us to execute those. I think this offense has the capability of being explosive.’’
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