Can Giants Rookie CB Cover Cowboys Rookie WR CeeDee Lamb?

Sunday Showdown: Can Giants Rookie CB Xavier McDaniel Cover Dallas Cowboys Rookie WR CeeDee Lamb?
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While potential playoff implications headline Sunday's Giants-Cowboys game, one of the many exciting subplots of the game is a potential squaring off between two electric rookies from this year's draft.

Giants rookie safety Xavier McKinney and Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb could end up lining up across from one another at some point, depending on the Giants' defensive scheme and personnel.

If McKinney does end up drawing a coverage assignment against Lamb, this won't be the first time.

McKinney, who played his college ball at Alabama, and Lamb, who starred at Oklahoma, last met in the 2018 College Football Playoff semifinal, which Alabama won 45-34.

While McKinney's Crimson Tide came out as the winner, Lamb may have gotten the better of Alabama's defense as the receiver hauled in eight catches for 109 yards and one touchdown.

"He can do a lot of things well. He was really talented. He had a really good game against us," McKinney said of Lamb. "That's when they had Kyler [Murray] too. That was definitely a problem to deal with in college."

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Lamb's proficiency in college has translated to the NFL with an impressive rookie season. He has 69 receptions for 892 yards and five touchdowns heading into Week 17's showdown at MetLife Stadium, a game in which the winner could emerge as the NFC East title winner.

Lamb has achieved this production despite turbulence at the quarterback position this season. But through it all, Lamb has emerged as one of the better rookie wide receivers of 2020, ranking second in receptions, third in yards, and fourth in touchdowns among the 2020 class.

Had Prescott stayed healthy, it's probably not unrealistic to think that Lamb might have ended up challenging Minnesota's Justin Jefferson for the best rookie wide receiver of the season.

Meanwhile, McKinney has gotten off to a slower start to his NFL career thanks to a broken foot he suffered in training camp that kept him off the field until Week 10.

Since returning from the injury, McKinney has since been slowly eased back into a prominent role, only playing 11 defensive snaps across his first two games before taking on a starting spot in Week 14 against the Cardinals.

He has remained a starter, and his snap count has increased in each of his last two outings. He made his first noteworthy impact last Sunday against the Ravens, recording a season-high seven tackles.

McKinney still has yet to record an interception, sack, or even an official pass breakup. Still, he has the backing of his coaches, who realize that the rookie's late start prevented him from building on-field chemistry with the rest of his teammates.

"I've been getting an increased amount of snaps," McKinney said. "I have been asked to do different things, and I've been prepared and ready to do so. It's definitely been different, definitely been more on my plate.

"I'm always staying prepared, making sure that I'm ready to go, whatever position they ask me to play. As far as making that play, I know it will come. I'm not trying to force anything. Just trying to make sure I do my job and make sure I execute for the team."

Starting Sunday at noon CT, which ever rookie "executes'' better ... whichever team "executes'' better ... keeps alive its chances of winning the NFC East and advancing to the NFL Playoffs.

Lamb, by the way, shares McKinney's level of self-confidence.

"Honestly, I feel like if everyone has the same drive of wanting to be the best, I don't think there's many things that can knock you off course," Lamb said. "I'm not going to have every game a great game, but I look to make as big of an impact with my opportunities as much as possible."

Cowboys vs. Giants marks the biggest opportunity in the lives of McKinney vs. Lamb.

Read more Giants coverage from Patricia Traina and Jackson Thompson and staff here.