After the Giants’ worst 60 minutes of play this season, losing to the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium this past Sunday by 31-18, they only had three days to regroup before a crucial NFC East matchup with the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 p.m.) today in one of three NFL Thanksgiving Day games. The opener pairs the Buffalo Bills at the Lions (12:30 p.m.) and the nightcap is the New England Patriots in Minnesota to face the Minnesota Vikings (8:20 p.m.).
The Giants lost at home to the Cowboys 23-16 on Sept. 26 in Week 3, so a defeat in Dallas today would put them at disadvantage in a division tie-breaker scenario. The Giants and Cowboys are locked together at 7-3, lurking behind the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles, leaders of the NFC East. Head-to-head games are the first division tie-breaker and best win-loss-tie percentage in games played within the division.
The Giants head into today’s game having just one division game on their record (0-1) while the Cowboys are 2-1. That is about to dramatically change because including this afternoon’s contest, the Giants’ next four games will be against the Cowboys, hosting the Washington Commanders and Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 respectively and at Washington on Dec. 18. They end the regular season Jan. 8 at Philadelphia.
The Giants will try to defeat a Cowboys group coming off of a 40-3 smashing of the Minnesota Vikings on the road on Sunday. Before then, the Vikings were 8-1 and 4-0 at home. The Giants will have to overcome a spate of injuries to players at key positions. Center Jon Feliciano, second-string right tackle Tyre Phillips and rookie guard Josh Ezeudu, a third-round pick from North Carolina, all had to leave the game against the Lions with neck injuries.
With first string rookie right tackle Evan Neal in civilian clothes since Week 7 with a knee injury, Matt Peart, who is third on the depth chart, was called on to finish the game. The most severe setback was rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson tearing the ACL in his right knee on the first play of the fourth quarter which will put him out for the rest of this season. The injury came on his most proficient day as a pro, as Robinson was targeted 13 times and had nine catches for 100 yards.
“We’re not about excuses, never will be,” said Giants head Coach Brian Daboll to the media on Monday. “We have people on our roster that are going to be ready to play. And that’s our job as a coaching staff is to get these guys ready to play. Again, you’re always going to hit adversity, whether it’s in a game, whether it’s in a season.”
The Giants wide receivers group already was one of the team’s most unproductive units, and Robinson’s absence will place a greater burden on running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones to carry the offense. Additionally, tight-end Daniel Bellinger will not suit up today for the fourth straight game as he continues to recover from a fractured left eye-socket. Another incident of misfortune was the Giants’ best cornerback, Adoree’ Jackson, suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee on a punt return; he is expected to be out four-to-six weeks.
The circumstances are unfavorable for a Giants squad that will look to even their season record versus a Cowboys collective that is one of the NFL’s most talented teams on both sides of the ball.