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New York Giants Week 15 Opponent First Look: Cowboys Offense

Let's see what, if anything, has changed with the Dallas Cowboys offense.

A healthy Dallas Cowboys offense is one of the best offenses in the NFL, led by one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, Dak Prescott hasn't lived up to his potential of late.

Prescott and the Cowboys sit atop the NFC East at 9-4. In the last two games, both wins, Prescott has a touchdown to interception ratio of 2:3. His pick-six to linebacker Cole Holcomb allowed the Washington Football Team to nearly pull off a huge 4th quarter comeback. Prescott isn't playing well at the moment; if he figures his struggles out, then Dallas' offense can be even more dangerous.

Dallas averages 29.2 points per game this season. That ranks second in the league behind Tampa Bay. The Cowboys rank 6th in the NFL in rushing offense with an average of 128.5 yards per game. Running back Tony Pollard suffered a plantar fascia injury that held him out of Week 14, and Ezekiel Elliott's knee is a burden to the once star running back. Elliott hasn't rushed for over 100 yards since the Cowboys' Week 5 win over the Giants.

Their passing attack is incredibly effective, even through the struggles of Prescott. Dallas ranks 4th in the NFL with an average of 280.6-yards per game through the air. Dallas has its full complement of receiving options healthy; wide receiver Amari Cooper was banged up and missed two games on the COVID-19 List, but he returned after Thanksgiving.

This offense can run, pass, and be dangerous doing both. They can attack the opposite of whatever the defense is trying to stop. This makes them very flexible.

As long as their offensive line remains healthy, something that they've struggled to maintain over the years, then this offense will continue to be a handful. Tackles La'El Collins and Tyron Smith are dinged up, with the latter missing week 15 against the Giants. Collins still has a chance to play. In Week 15, Patrick Graham and the Giants defense have their work cut out for them.

Quarterback

Prescott started the season hot but has tailed off a bit lately. His completion rate is still a very impressive 67.9 percent, with 24 touchdowns and ten interceptions. He has thrown for 3,381 yards on the year.

Prescott has also used his legs, which is a great sign after returning from the lower leg injury. He's not as quick as he once was, and he's much more conscious of getting down, but he's still a threat with the ball in his hands. He has nine fumbles through 13 games, so the Giants have to be swatting at the football when they get pressure.

Running Backs

Elliott looks injured running the football, but his workload remains solid. He's physical with great contact balance, and he runs behind his pads very well, just a difficult tackle for defenders. He has 185 carries for 810 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Elliott also has 54 targets; he secured 41 for 245 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Pollard has earned a significant role alongside Elliott. He's still the 1B, but arguments can be made for Pollard over Elliott, specifically due to his incredible athletic ability and burst. 

Pollard earns over ten touches a game, sharing a backfield with a highly-paid running back like Elliott. Pollard has 107 rushing attempts for 602 yards and two touchdowns. Pollard also has 31 catches on 34 targets for 259-yards.

Elliott is more of the "hard yardage" type of player, and Pollard is the change-of-pace, get-him-in-space type of running back. Both are receiving threats, and Elliott is one of the best pass-blocking running backs in the NFL.

Wide Receivers

Dallas has one of the deepest 11-personnel packages when healthy. Michael Gallup, their true "X" receiver, spent most of the season injured but returned to the lineup a few weeks ago. 

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Cooper has 51 catches on 72 targets for 675 yards and six touchdowns. Defenses struggle to defend all three of these receivers, and Cedrick Wilson isn't a scrub either, as the fourth receiver in the bunch.

Noah Brown also sees the field at times. He's a big-bodied receiver with speed, a good replacement for Gallup when he's injured. He is a distant fifth option behind Gallup, Wilson, Cooper, and Lamb.

Tight Ends

Dallas isn't scared to align in 12 personnel and use their tight ends against opposing linebackers. Neither Dalton Schultz nor Jeremy Sprinkle are SPARQ type of athletes.

Schultz is the clear-cut number one tight end option. He has 53 catches on 71 targets for 584-yards and four touchdowns. Sprinkle assumed a lesser role than Blake Jarwin but played 23-snaps for the offense against his former team in the Football Team.

New York runs a lot of zone coverage, and their depth will likely be deeper to eliminate the intermediate and deep parts of the field, leaving the dump-down options to these tight ends. The Giants have to rally and tackle in these situations.

Offensive Line

Dallas has one of the most experienced offensive lines in the league. Left tackle Tyron Smith has dealt with so many injuries throughout his career, and he'll miss this game against New York. 

Ty Nsekhe, the former Buffalo Bill, will start for Smith if Collins misses the game. If Collins is there, he'll start on the left side, allowing Terrance Steele to man the right side of the line of scrimmage. Nsekhe has been in the league since 2012 and is a 36-year-old veteran. The Giants can out-maneuver him with their speed on the edge.

Right tackle is 6'6", 310-pound Terrance Steele, an undrafted player in 2020. Steele is playing solidly for Dallas. Steele has allowed 27 pressures this season and only two sacks. He's not nearly as consistent technically as Smith, but still a great find by Dallas. This year, Collins played in 289 pass-blocking snaps and has allowed one sack and 14 pressures.

A top-two guard anchors the interior offensive line. Zach Martin is incredibly versatile, strong, athletic, and difficult to win against. Martin can play any position along the offensive line, but he will be at right guard. Connor Williams was the starter on the left side of the line of scrimmage, but Connor McGovern has assumed the left guard position after Williams was dinged up and struggled a bit.

If there is one weakness on the offensive line, it's between Williams and second-year center Tyler Biadasz. The young center has allowed 11 pressures on the season. Lawrence and Leonard Williams, the latter who might miss this game with an elbow injury, can win these matchups to create pressure against Prescott. Expect the Giants to use stunts to create open allies with Lawrence as the penetrator and Williams, Carter, or Ojulari as the looping defenders.

Connor McGovern is traditionally the swing offensive lineman who has started for a struggling Williams lately. McGovern is a quality backup who can start when asked to play. 


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