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Does Dallas simply have too much firepower for Giants?
And though New York is not opening its season against the Cowboys this year, it is closing out the 2020 schedule with a home contest slated against Dallas on Jan. 3.
Last season, the Giants lost both contests to the Cowboys. New York dropped the first game, 35-17 in the first week of the season and fell, 37-18 in Week 9.
The last time the Giants defeated the Cowboys was in Week 14 of the 2016 season, when they scratched out a 10-7 victory buoyed by 94 receiving yards from Odell Beckham Jr.
That seems like a long time ago as the Giants come off of a 4-12 2019 campaign. Giants fans can hope the offseason changes will be enough to improve the team heading into the 2020 season. But it is seems unlikely that New York snaps its wining streak against the new-and-improved Cowboys offense.
Key free agent signings: QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper, DL Gerald McCoy, DL Dontari Poe, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, CB Maurice Canady, CB Anthony Brown, S Darian Thompson, LB Sean Lee, DE Aldon Smith, CB Daryl Worley, TE Blake Jarwin
Draft picks: WR CeeDee Lamb, CB Trevon Diggs, DT Neville Gallimore, CB Reggie Robinson II, C Tyler Biadasz, DE Bradlee Anae, QB Ben DiNucci
As the Cowboys wrapped up what turned out to be a disappointing 2019 campaign in which they could not defeat any team that mattered, they looked like one of the more vulnerable teams in the NFC East. The Giants and Washington Redskins were far past vulnerable as they descended into rebuilding seasons, but the Cowboys were supposed to be good and came up short to the Philadelphia Eagles last year. And so they no longer seemed like the team to beat heading into the 2020 season.
Then factor in the Cowboy’s offseason losses. Byron Jones left for the Miami Dolphins, becoming the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. The Cowboys’ 2019 leader in sacks with 11.5, Robert Quinn, left for the Chicago Bears. Randall Cobb paid the addition of new head coach Mike McCarthy no mind and signed a $9 million contract with the Houston Texans. Longtime center Travis Frederick retired to the surprise of many. Lucky for Dallas, it was able to use its franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott to lock him in for the 2020 season, but that was a nagging stress this offseason.
But then, the NFL Draft happened. And any concerns about the Cowboys weakened defense or loss of offensive threats slowly disappeared. For this reason, the Giants’ Week 5 and Week 17 matchups against the Cowboys in Dallas will be hard ones to win.
First, there is the addition of Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb – a player who just kept dropping in the first round. Jerry Jones, smiling from his yacht, made what had to have been an easy decision when Lamb was still available at No. 17. Lamb finished his career at Oklahoma second in school history in touchdown receptions (32) and third in receiving yards (3,292) and 100-yard receiving games (14). He also has proven success under different quarterbacks, including Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts.
After signing Amari Cooper to a four-year contract this offseason and acquiring 1,000-yard receiver Michael Gallup, the Cowboys now have what is arguably one of the most talented receiving corps in the NFL. With New York’s developing secondary, it will be hard to defend that group.
New York added two cornerbacks in the draft, including Darnay Holmes in Round 4. Holmes recorded eight interceptions in three seasons at UCLA. He joins the cornerback group of Corey Ballentine, Sam Beal and, for now, DeAndre Baker. They are a young group with potential but it’s hard imagining them being successful against the powerhouse Cowboys.
Unfortunately, the Giants do not gain an advantage on the other side of the ball. The Cowboys had some key offensive losses over the offseason, but they also made some strong additions.
Gerald McCoy has 59.5 career sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl every year from 2012-17. He has averaged 15 starts and nearly seven sacks the last eight seasons. As a veteran, he will bring crucial leadership and experience to the Cowboys defense. The Cowboys also added defensive tackle Dontari Poe, an eight-year veteran. And the signing of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will help make up for the loss of Jeff Heath. Clinton-Dix was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2014 and therefore already has a familiarity with McCarthy.
Factor in the fact that the Giants finished in the bottom 10 of all NFL team in offensive yards last season with 5,416 and they scored just 341 total points. New York has made offensive upgrades this offseason, of course starting with No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas. But it is difficult to imagine them stringing together enough points to defeat the Cowboys – a team that scored the sixth-most points in the league last season.
In addition to roster changes, the Cowboys made their biggest adjustment of all this offseason when they hired Mike McCarthy as the team’s new head coach. The 13-year Packers coach has a career 125-77-2 record. He has one Super Bowl victory, won the NFC North title six times and made the playoffs nine times (including eight years in a row). McCarthy does not just talk about winning, he exemplifies it. The Giants may have former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett on their side now as the team’s new offensive coordinator, but New York is going to need more help if it is going to defeat McCarthy’s Cowboys.
For these reasons, the losing streak against Dallas is in all likelihood set to continue through the 2020 season.