The Giants (5-10) host the Dallas Cowboys (9-6) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 1 p.m. ET.
The Giants’ miserable season will end on a gray, chilly day with lots of clouds and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s.
WHAT IT MEANS
Nothing. At all. The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and are locked into the 4-seed in the playoffs. The Giants are playing for draft position, but it matters a lot less now that Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert isn’t coming out and there isn’t a lock, top-10 quarterback in this draft. If you believe that momentum can carry over into next season, then sure, there’s meaning here. The Giants, once 1-7, can finish the second half 5-3.
PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Lorenzo Carter
He has shown flashes of brilliance, and his playing time has increased lately, so it’s possible he’ll see extended action against the Cowboys on Sunday. Like with most of the Giants’ pass rushers, his rookie season has been something of a disappointment. He figured to be a huge help as a situational pass rusher, but so far he only has three sacks.
With neither Olivier Vernon nor Kareem Martin guaranteed to return to the Giants next year, the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Carter is their best hope for finding a strong, young pass rusher on their roster. They’ll surely draft someone in April, so he’ll be paired with someone new on the other side in 2019. The Giants hope he’ll be a big part of their defense in 2019. It would help if he finishes strong.
It’s too bad the Giants couldn’t make a big enough run so there was some meaning in this game, because they really are playing better lately, especially on offense. They’re far from perfect, of course, and their defense lately has been a liability. But they went from an awful team in the first half to a mediocre one in the second. For most of the season, the Cowboys weren’t much better than that, though they’re definitely more dangerous since they traded for receiver Amari Cooper.
Keep in mind that no matter how much Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says he’s playing his starters and trying to win this game, he’s not crazy enough to risk his best players for a full game that means nothing to their playoff position. If the starters play at all, expect Cooper, running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott will all be on the sidelines wearing baseball caps in the second half. If nothing else, that should be enough to hold off any Giants’ second-half collapse. And even if the starters stay in the game the entire first half, the way the Giants are playing, they are good enough to get a lead that this time they won’t give up. … Giants 27, Cowboys 20.
MY RECORD: 7-8
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO WIN: 2-4
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO LOSE: 5-4