Dallas (6-9) at NY Giants (5-10)
When: Sunday, January 3rd, 2021
Where: MetLife Stadium,
East Rutherford, NJ
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: New York -3.5/47
The winner in the Sunday afternoon NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will need help from a longtime enemy in order to get into the postseason. Despite a three-game losing streak and a 5-10 record, the Giants find themselves with a chance to win the NFC East on the last day of the regular season. Conversely, a win by the 6-9 Cowboys also gives them a chance. Either way, one of these teams needs the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Washington Football Team later in the evening, or it’s Washington that goes to the postseason. Whoever wins this division, will be the fifth team since the NFL-AFL merger to enter the playoffs with a losing record, and only the third during a 16-game season. This year’s NFC East champ will also go into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and will likely host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round and be an underdog. The Cowboys bring a three-game winning streak into the contest including a 37-17 victory over the Eagles last Sunday. The offense has come to life, scoring 30 or more during the winning streak, while also playing better defense. New York’s offense has been non-existent during their three-game ski, scoring a total of 26 points in losses to Arizona, Cleveland and Baltimore.
Dallas has won seven straight over the Giants including six of their last eight in New York. In the first meeting back in Week 5, the Cowboys lost starting quarterback Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury. Andy Dalton came off the bench to finish 9-of-11 for 111 yards and lead a game-winning drive capped by Greg Zuerlein’s 34-yard field goal as time expired in the 37-34 victory. This week’s meeting has a very low total of 44.5, as rain and high winds are in the forecast at MetLife Stadium.
Turnovers have been a key to Dallas’ recent surge. The did commit their first turnover of their winning streak last week versus Philly, but took the ball away three times Sunday to improve their turnover differential to +9 over those three wins. The 513 yards of offense in Week 16 was easily the highest number in a game for Dallas since Prescott went down. Three players topped the century mark in yards: Ezekiel Elliott (139), Michael Gallup (121), and Amari Cooper (121). Dalton had 377 passing yards and three touchdowns with just an interception in the win, and has nine touchdowns against two picks in his last four starts. The Cowboys are averaging 25.1 points per game on the season, but since Week 14, they have put up 36.0 points. Four Cowboys – safeties Darian Thompson (concussion) and Donovan Wilson (illness), linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (ankle) and cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) – did not practice Wednesday while corner Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring, groin) and safety Xavier Woods (ribs) were limited. Dallas is 5-10 ATS on the season, but all five of those covers have come in the last seven weeks.
Daniel Jones’ return under center didn’t go as planned for the Giants last week, managing only 13 points in a loss at Baltimore. New York is averaging 12.4 points over their last five games and haven’t scored 20 points since Week 10. Jones was helpless against the Ravens’ pass rush, as he was sacked six times for a loss of 37 yards. He finished the game with 252 passing yards and a touchdown on 24-of-41 completions. In the win over the Cowboys in Week 5, Jones passed for 222 yards with zero TDs and no interceptions on 20-of-33 completions. The defense has been carrying this team lately. Week 4 at Dallas was the last time New York allowed over 30 points in a game. New York’s defense also had two touchdowns in that game. The Giants sit 10th in the NFL with 22.5 points against. Wide receiver Golden Tate (calf) and fullback Eli Penny (illness) both did not practice Wednesday for the Giants but Jones (hamstring) was a full participant. Tight end Evan Engram (calf), safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ribs) were limited.
Dallas’ defense is starting to improve and the offense under Dalton is taking off. New York is really having a hard time moving the football and I don’t see how they can keep up with the Cowboys here. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Cowboys -1.5
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