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New York Giants Week 5 Opponent Breakdown: Dallas Cowboys  Offense

Let's get our first look at the 3-1 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. 

The 2020 season deteriorated for the Cowboys after Dak Prescott broke his lower leg against the Giants in Week 5, as a combination of Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert couldn't elevate Dallas to the top of a weak NFC East.

Speaking of quarterbacks, head coach Mike McCarthy's decision to retain offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has helped Prescott take his game to another level as leader of that offense. The Cowboys have averaged 31.5 points per game this season, making them a top-5 scoring offense. 

With a healthy offensive line, they're running the football well with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. They rank second in the NFL in rushing yards this season. And their passing attack is incredibly effective when utilized, as we saw in Week 1 against the Buccaneers. 

Of late, Dallas has leaned a little more on their running game and has one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the league. As long as their offensive line remains healthy, defending Dallas will be a challenging task. 

Can the Giants, though, figure out a way to keep pace in a critical Week 5 game in which they'll need to show last week's win against the Saints wasn't a mirage?

Let's hope so.

Quarterback

Prescott, as previously noted, has thrived under Moore, notching a 75% completion rate with ten touchdowns and two interceptions. He has thrown for 1,066 yards through four games.

Prescott has also used his legs a bit which is a great sign after returning from the ankle injury from last year. He also doesn't seem limited by the back injury he was dealing with in preseason, either.

He does have five fumbles through four games, so the Giants have to be swatting at the football when they get pressure.

Running Backs

Elliott and Pollard are arguably the best running back duo in the league other than the Browns' Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Elliott looks quicker this year and still plays with reckless abandon. He's physical with outstanding contact balance, and he runs behind his pads very well, just a difficult tackle for defenders. He has 64 carries for 342 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Moore has designed plays specifically for Pollard, who is insanely explosive. Pollard earns over ten touches a game, sharing a backfield with a highly-paid running back like Elliott, which says a lot about how Moore regards him. Pollard has 37 rushing attempts for 250 yards and a touchdown.

Elliott is more of the "hard yardage" type of player, and Pollard is the change of pace, get him-in-space 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 receivers groups when healthy. Unfortunately for Dallas, Michael Gallup, their X-receiver, is injured. This leaves an incredible duo of CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper.

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Lamb aligns mainly in the slot, and he's one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. Lamb has 20 catches on 31 targets for 264 yards and a touchdown. His season has started shaky in that he's had a couple of drops so far, but he can separate and create space and win contested-catch situations are plusses in his game.

Amari Cooper is an expert route runner--possibly the best in the NFL. He is insanely smooth and can run every route in the tree. Cooper has been dinged up, missing practice time here and there, but he's still dynamic when he plays. Cooper has 22 catches on 29 targets for 258-yards and three touchdowns.

Cedrick Wilson has been filling in for Gallup when Dallas is in 11-personnel. He caught a touchdown against the Panthers, spinning off a tackle and getting open. He has nine catches on 11 targets for 91-yards and two touchdowns.

Noah Brown also sees the field at times. He's a big-bodied receiver with speed. He is a distant fourth option behind Wilson, Cooper, and Lamb.

Tight Ends

Dallas uses their tight ends frequently in the passing game. Since Gallup's injury and the return of Blake Jarwin, they've leaned just as much on 12-personnel, pitting their tight ends against defensive ends and linebackers. Neither Dalton Schultz nor Blake Jarwin are top athletes; Jarwin, the more athletic of the two.

Schultz, however, has been on a tear. He has 20 catches on 22 targets for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Jarwin has nine catches on 12 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. Both tight ends are often open underneath due to the attention paid to the receivers.

With the Giants having made it a point to keep things in front of them on defense, they cannot be leaving large patches of the middle of the field wide open, especially if the tight ends are the recipients of the dump-off options. Tackling--something the Giants didn't do well last week against the Saints--needs to be cleaned up as these Cowboys' tight ends cannot be allowed to roam free.

Offensive Line

Dallas has one of the most experienced offensive lines in the league. Left tackle Tyron Smith has dealt with so many injuries through his career, but he's healthy. Smith isn't the same dominant tackle from a few years back, but he's still a top-10 left tackle in the league.

Right tackle is 6'6", 310 pound Terrance Steele, an undrafted player in 2020. Steele is playing well for Dallas, who is missing La'El Collins. Steele has only allowed six pressures this season. He's not nearly as consistent technically as Smith, but still a great find by Dallas.

A top-two guard anchors the interior offensive line. Zach Martin is incredibly versatile, strong, athletic, and a difficult player to win against. Martin can play any position along the offensive line, but he will be at right guard. On the left side is Connor Williams, a player who has struggled with Dexter Lawrence in the past, is a solid player overall.

If there is one weakness on the offensive line, it's between Williams and second-year center Tyler Biadasz. The young center has 11 pressures on the season. Lawrence and Leonard Williams can win these matchups to create pressure on Prescott.

Connor McGovern is the swing offensive lineman who plays some snaps on the interior for the Cowboys. He played in ten snaps for the Cowboys in week four, mostly in big offensive packages that feature an extra offensive lineman. 


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