Following their tough loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the Giants enter a shortened week tasked with taking on the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. This will be one of the toughest games of the season for the Giants, as outside of the multitude of injuries, this Cowboys squad is extremely talented.
The Giants have dealt with adversity all season and right now it seems as if things couldn’t get much worse. So many key players are dealing with injuries and will need their replacements to step up big time if the team wants to win.
Even for the players that were healthy in the Giants loss to the Lions, many disappointents really let the team down. These players will need to step it up and lead the Giants if they want a chance to defeat the Cowboys on Thursday.
4. LB Jaylon Smith
Watching Jaylon Smith’s performance against the Lions was extremely painful, as not only did he show a lack of proper read and react ability, but he couldn’t get off of a block to save his life. While he has had many solid moments with the Giants since his return, this problem has haunted Smith all season.
As much as Smith’s speed can make up for a lack of an ability to read and react, he still must be better. The position of linebacker has been a massive problem for the Giants all season, and when you look at all the injuries the secondary racked up last week, they need any non-defensive linemen to step up in coverage.
Smith has struggled mightily in coverage all season, allowing 10 receptions on 11 targets for 106 yards. The Cowboys may not have an elite TE, but with how poor the Giants defense has been against TEs all season, things could go downhill really fast.
Even outside of TEs, the Cowboys have a massive receiving threat at running back in Tony Pollard, who caught six passes for 109 yards and two TDs last week against the Vikings. Honestly, we are much more worried about Pollard than any other non-receiver on the Cowboys.
With how good the Cowboys offensive line is, it will likely be up to the linebacker core of the Giants to stop the run, meaning Smith must play at a very high level if the Giants want a chance to slow down Dallas’s offense.