Game Predictions & Player Projections - NYG vs. DAL

Game Predictions & Player Projections - NYG vs. DAL


Game Predictions & Player Projections - NYG vs. DAL

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Prediction: NYG 27, DAL 30 (Line: DAL by 5.5)

Update: Victor Cruz has been ruled out. Rueben Randle will take the outside and Preston Parker moves up to play the slot.

Injury Report
Wednesday – Did Not Practice – Victor Cruz, Tony Romo

Thursday – Did Not Practice – Victor Cruz
Friday – Did Not Practice – Victor Cruz

The Giants enter their second season of Ben McAdoo’s offense but ending 6-10 last year was more about the failings of the defense. The only offensive change this year is the addition of Shane Vereen to the committee backfield. The Cowboys celebrated finally having the #1 rusher in the NFL by allowing him to go to one of their biggest rivals and replacing him with Darren McFadden as one of the bigger head scratchers of the year. The Giants lost their best defensive end to fireworks and the Cowboys just lost their best cornerback to the practice field. The beauty of this game is that it normally ends up as a shootout.

The Cowboys went 12-4 in their best season in decades and swept the Giants last year, winning 31-21 at home and 31-28 in New York.

New York Giants

1 @DAL —— 10 NE ——
2 ATL —— 11 BYE ——
3 WAS —— 12 @WAS ——
4 @BUF —— 13 NYJ ——
5 SF —— 14 @MIA ——
6 @PHI —— 15 CAR ——
7 DAL —— 16 @MIN ——
8 @NO —— 17 PHI ——
9 @TB ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
NYG @ DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 310,3
RB Rashad Jennings 40 2-10
RB Shane Vereen 20 4-40
RB Andre Williams 50
WR Odell Beckham 7-110,1
WR Hakeem Nicks 1-20
TE Larry Donnell 2-20,1
PK Josh Brown 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: It was an odd year for the Giants in 2014 when they lost Victor Cruz just in time to see one of the greatest displays by a rookie wideout ever. The rushing effort was never good enough despite spreading 426 carries over six different running backs. The passing game was limited to just a pitch and catch with Odell Beckham Jr. though that still worked. HC Tom Coughlin enters his 11th season and is second only to Marvin Lewis (13) in tenure. A turnaround is a must to keep Coughlin interested and the Giants willing. But the pieces are just not that different from 2014.

QUARTERBACK : Eli Manning is one of the elder statesmen of the league at 34 years of age. And yet he comes off a career best season when he passed for 4410 yards and 30 touchdowns. The chance that Victor Cruz could return only makes Manning more attractive this year along with a nice schedule.

Manning threw for just 248 yards in Dallas last year but scored three times both then and in the home meeting when he passed for 338 yards.

RUNNING BACK : Here is where the trouble starts, at least in fantasy terms. Rashad Jennings came over from the Raiders last year after the first solid six week stretch in his career. But it ended up that he really was a a journeyman running back on his third team who had a career high of only 167 carries for a 3.8 yard average. The Giants also drafted Andre Williams in the fourth round last year and he scored seven times but only gained 721 yards on 217 carries for a 3.3 yard average. Now the Giants are introducing Shane Vereen into the mix for a three-way committee.

Vereen is ostensibly the third down back even though the Giants were only 26th in running back passes last year.

No rusher gained more than 52 yards versus the Cowboys last year though Rashad Jennings gained 120 total yards at home in his only meeting. Andre Williams scored once in the New York game. I’ll project for all three but after week one we will know more.

WIDE RECEIVER : Victor Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon last year and required season ending surgery. There was a question if he would ever return the same and while he has been cleared to practice and play, he is now nursing a calf injury. Cruz may not play this week so I will under project him and update as warranted.

While Cruz left, Odell Beckham Jr. exploded in the second half of the year. He was never seen during the summer because of his hamstring but still ended up posting 91 catches for 1305 yards and 12 touchdowns over 12 games played. He’s already considered an elite player. Beckham had a hamstring pull earlier this summer but is healthy and ready for week one. He’s just finished his first training camp.

Rueben Randle had a career year thanks to replacing Cruz and ended with 71-938-3. He’ll step up again if Cruz is unable to go. Parker Preston would be next in line to move.

Beckham was not yet a phenom when he posted four catches for 34 yards and two scores in Dallas during week seven last year. He later turned in 10 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns back at home in week 12. No other wideout scored or had fantasy relevance in either game.

TIGHT END : Larry Donnell was the primary receiving tight end but he rarely turned in more than around 30 yards in most games and is only memorable from his seven catch game in Washington when he scored three times. Otherwise he had minimal fantasy value. Daniel Fells also figured in with four scores though he only caught 16 passes.

Aside from the one touchdown catch by Fells in the first meeting, the Giants’ tight ends were never a factor versus the Cowboys..

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Cowboys defensive problems were largely hidden last year thanks to a dominating ground game that helped the defense. But DeMarco Murray is gone and is replaced with a mediocre tag team. Plus the Cowboys just lost Orlando Scandrick as their best cover corner and that one will be immediately an issue. The Giants never rushed well versus the Cowboys and now that pie is going to three people instead of two. But Manning and Beckham are must starts this week and already were productive against them. None of the rushers are better than marginal fantasy starts but Beckham and company should have a nice showing here again. I will project for Cruz who may not play. Randle could be a nice play here if Cruz cannot go since he will face Morris Claiborne who is replacing Scandrick.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYG 13 20 5 7 17 25
Preventing Fantasy Points DAL 21 19 6 32 2 22

Dallas Cowboys

1 NYG —— 10 @TB ——
2 @PHI —— 11 @MIA ——
3 ATL —— 12 CAR ——
4 @NO —— 13 @WAS ——
5 NE —— 14 @GB ——
6 BYE —— 15 NYJ ——
7 @NYG —— 16 @BUF ——
8 SEA —— 17 WAS ——
9 PHI ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
DAL vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Tony Romo 290,3
RB Lance Dunbar 4-30
RB Darren McFadden 40 2-20
RB Alfred Morris 60 2-10
WR Cole Beasley 4-40
WR Dez Bryant 6-100,2
WR Terrance Williams 4-60,1
TE Jason Witten 3-30
PK Dan Bailey 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cowboys enjoyed a stellar season for a franchise that has been short on post season play for about 20 years. But that success was predicated on the surprisingly healthy play of DeMarco Murray who is now an Eagle. And the Cowboys whiffed were steadfast in the draft and skipped their biggest need all together. Now they’ll go into the season with a committee backfield that certainly doesn’t look like anyone will emerge as a primary back. But the same set of receivers return and even Tony Romo has been healthier this summer since he did not have to do much last year. Expectations are high in Dallas but the offensive line is going to have to prove that any old runner can succeed behind them.

QUARTERBACK : Tony Romo only passed for 3705 yards in 2014 – his worst 16 game performance of his career. But he also threw 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Handing off to DeMarco Murray was his most effective play and opened up Dez Bryant even more. Romo is likely to throw more this year unless that backfield committee exceeds expectations.

Romo loved playing the Giants last season. He threw for 279 yards and three scores at home and later 275 yards and four touchdowns in New York.

RUNNING BACK : No doubt the Cowboys miss DeMarco Murray who led the NFL with 1845 rushing yards on 393 carries. Instead Joseph Randle likely leads the group that includes Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar as the third down back. The grouping is interesting. Dunbar is the player that has been hyped for three years in the summer and yet ne’s never had more than 47 touches in any season and never scored a touchdown in the NFL. McFadden is only four years removed from his lone meaningful season and hasn’t been better than a 3.4 yard per carry average since 2011. Randle had 51 carries last year and while he averaged 6.7 yards, it was the halo effect of defenses relaxing once Murray was gone.

Just when the backfield seemed to be a three-headed monster, the Cowboys traded for Christine Michael and he’s been mentioned as a possible goal line back. Sadly this actually could become a four-way backfield.

Murray plowed over the Giants gaining 128 yards at home and later 121 yards in New York. He scored once in the home meeting.

WIDE RECEIVER : All the same receivers are returning and there is hope that Terrance Williams will gain more consistency this year. He started out with six touchdowns in seven weeks last year but then cooled significantly until week 16. Williams scored five more touchdowns in the final four games that he played including three during the playoffs.

Dez Bryant has been on a four year streak of 11+ touchdowns and he’s broken 1000 yards in each of those seasons. He just signed a monster contract but should keep his fire. Bryant is the first read by Romo and if this season proves more challenging than the last, Bryant is the first to benefit.

Cole Beasley has become a valued slot player who scored four times last year on his 37 catches for 420 yards. He was a much bigger factor in the final eight games.

Bryant enjoyed very nice outings against the Giants last year. He caught nine passes for 151 yards at home and later seven catches for 86 yards and two scores in New York. William never had more than 18 yards in either game though he scored at home on his only catch.

TIGHT END : Jason Witten enters his 13th NFL season. He also comes off his worst season since 2003 when he was a rookie. Witten still posted 64-703-4 but that drops him from the elite ranks. He’s in the final stretch of his career but could see a small uptick in passes this year.

Witten only accounted for two catches for 27 yards in the home meeting with the Giants. On the road he still was held to 30 yards though he scored once in that game.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Giants were weak against the run last year but that doesn’t matter as much now. This matchup has always been a shootout and neither team has a formidable defense. Romo and Bryant are obvious starts but even Williams could be a consideration since he has started out seasons hot before. Witten is a low end start and that will hold every week. The Cowboys will try to establish the run and see what their merry band of rushers can do but relying on that as a fantasy start now is risky. This is a favorable situation but how the distribution of work is done could leave one or more backs well below fantasy significance.

Gaining Fantasy Points DAL 9 2 8 12 8 18
Preventing Fantasy Points NYG 29 23 8 24 26 23

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