What is the Toughest Stretch for Giants' Defensive Line?

Jackson Thompson

The Giants' defensive line is considered one of the team's strengths heading into 2020.

Dalvin Tomlinson, Leonard Williams, and Dexter Lawrence highlight the group, and they'll look to build on a strong finish to 2019. After Williams was acquired via trade from the Jets, the unit combined for 82 run defense stops of zero or negative yards. The unit will also include newcomer Austin Johnson and youngsters B.J. Hill, Chris Slayton, and R.J. McIntosh.

The group will be tested by five of Pro Football Focus's top-10 offensive lines going into 2020. These challenging opponents will be an opportunity for the defensive line to set the tone for new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham's scheme.

The one week on the 2020 schedule stands out. In Week 17, the Giants will conclude the season against the division rival Dallas Cowboys. 

Yes, the Giants face the Cowboys every year, and yes, they have an earlier-season meeting in Dallas. Still, this game will be a test against a perenially dominant rushing attack and a test of fortitude against a stretch of top-tier competition.

The Giants' will finish the season with three straight games against top-ranked offensive lines and rushing offenses from 2019 starting in Week 15 at home against the Cleveland Browns. 

They'll continue on the road with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, and the Cowboys at home--all games that could have significant playoff implications for either or both teams.

The endurance and consistency of the Giants' defensive line could ultimately be judged by how it performs in a potentially high-stakes finale after back-to-back games against bruising competition.

Either game against the Cowboys would be a tough matchup for the defensive line regardless. Dallas boasts PFF's third-best offensive line heading into 2020, and the rushing attack piled up 172 yards last time it faced the Giants, the first against the current defensive tackle lineup.

Elliot's best numbers against the Giants always seem to come in road games, as he's averaged 123 rushing yards per game at Metlife Stadium when facing the Giants.

The Cowboys season finale will be the toughest test for the Giants' defensive line this year because of where it falls on the schedule and the added competition of divisional games, particularly in Week 17.

The Cowboys have consistently finished near the top of the NFL dating back to 2014 in rushing yards and will only be down retired center Travis Frederick of its previously dominant core of players.

It's a core that's gotten the best of the Giants for three straight years, and the pressure of turning the fortunes of this rivalry will mount in the Week 17 meeting regardless of what happens in Week 5.

Like the Browns matchup, the Cowboys' entire offense is bolstered with elite talent. That will leave lots of pressure to contain Elliot on the Giants' defensive line and only the latest task in a grueling stretch against elite rushing offenses.