Week 5: @ Dallas Cowboys
The last game of this gauntlet to start the season will take place in Jerry’s World and will have some huge storylines surrounding it.
For starters, the game will be a first for a few different people. It will be Joe Judge’s first time facing Dallas (or any NFC East opponent) as the head coach of the NY Giants, the first time Daniel Jones faces the Cowboys in Dallas, and the first time new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett stands on the opposite sideline of the team he’s been with for the last 14 seasons.
This will be another benchmark for Judge, as Dallas is not only the relatively clear-cut favorite to win the NFC East again but have turned the historically physical, heavyweight rivalry into a lopsided embarrassment the last three seasons.
Big Blue hasn’t beaten Dallas since sweeping them in 2016, having now dropped six straight vs their NFC East rival.
It will undoubtedly be another statement game not just for Judge, but for both sides of the football. Defensively, Dallas gave up 20 points/game last season and finished in the top 1/3 of most defensive categories.
The addition of Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in the middle of the defense paired with Dexter Lawrence on the edge will again test New York’s offensive line.
The speed of linebacker duo Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith can be a challenge in the run game and pass game covering Barkley out of the backfield and Engram in the slot.
Ha-Ha Clinton Dix will also be one to watch in the secondary, reunited with his head coach from Green Bay, Mike McCarthy.
Now on the other side of the ball, this will be the first game that will truly reveal and/or expose the problems and bright spots of the entire defense.
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and the offensive line (even with the retirement of Travis Frederick) are more than enough to test the front seven of the G-Men.
Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, rookie CeeDee Lamb, and Blake Jarwin will give the young secondary all they can handle from a speed and pure talent perspective.
Overall, it will be one of the best overall offensive units the defense will have faced to date – with the best quarterback, running back, offensive line, and receiving corps of any of the four teams they will have previously played.
A win over Dallas to start divisional play will be a huge statement for this team. One that shows the NY Giants shouldn’t be treated like everyone’s high school homecoming opponent anymore.
This five-game stretch is a pretty brutal way to kick off a season with an entirely new coaching staff following a pandemic-riddled, delayed off-season.
A primetime MNF matchup vs the Steelers and their defense, a short turnaround to play Khalil Mack and the Bears in Chicago, the 2019 NFC Champions, a trip out west vs the Rams, and the NFC East favorites with a loaded roster – what a time to be a NY Giants fan.
While these first five games won’t determine the season, it will answer a lot of questions about Joe Judge, Daniel Jones, the offensive line, and Graham’s new defense.
The obvious best-case scenario here is a clean sweep and 5-0, but the more realistic outcome is 2-3 or 3-2 with wins over Chicago, Los Angeles, and possibly Dallas.
But, who knows, Crazier things have happened and there are teams who do better and worse than expected every single year.
As long as we see a different style of New York Giants football – one that includes being competitive and physical for four quarters – there will be a lot to build on through the rest of the 2020 season.