The Dallas Cowboys are about to play their most important game of the season. On Sunday the team travel to New York to face the Giants, in a game where the loser is automatically eliminated from playoff contention. The winner of the game will turn their focus the Washington-Philadelphia matchup that evening, because if Philadelphia manges to emerge victorious then the winner of the Cowboys-Giants will have secured a spot in the playoffs.
The Cowboys had a number of crucial updates Saturday, including injury designations, three coaches not travelling with the club, and more.
COVID positives causes Cowboys to travel to NY without 2 players, 3 coaches
The Dallas Cowboys have had an adversity filled 2020 season, but the team has been surprisingly clear of COVID-19 issues this season. Andy Dalton contracted the virus in the middle of the season, but other than that the Cowboys were in the clear, until Week 17 hit. The Cowboys announced earlier this week that DT Justin Hamilton and safety Darian Thompson both tested positive for COVID, and they will not be with the team Sunday. These results caused the Cowboys to prepare for Sunday virtually. The bad news didn't stop there, however. On Saturday, Dallas announced that three assistant coaches were unable to travel with the team for Week 17 due to COVID protocols. The Athletic's Jon Machota reported that Assistant Head Coach Rob Davis, Assistant Special Teams Coach Matt Daniels and Offensive Assistant Scott Tolzien are the three coaches who will be missing. While these men may not be the team's most prominent signal-callers, any unforeseen blow like this in a win-or-go-home week is problematic. https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1345466864483397632
Cowboys-Giants final injury reports
https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1345112066458267648 Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was officially ruled out for Week 17 with an ankle injury. Cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) was ruled out as well. Vander Esch prepares to miss his second straight game after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 15. Sean Lee and Joe Thomas will fill the void left by Vander Esch. Safety Xavier Woods is listed as questionable. The Cowboys are already down two defenders due to COVID-19. The Giants, the Cowboys Week 17 opponent, are relatively healthy entering the matchup. Fullback Elijhaa Penny (illness) is the only Giant ruled out prior to game day. LB Cam Brown is questionable, and WR Golden Tate, the most notable Giant on the injury report, is also questionable.
https://twitter.com/GehlkenNFL/status/1345461164013137920 The Cowboys might be getting some major help back, should they make this postseason. The team announced that All-Pro guard Zack Martin was activated from the injured reserve, though Martin will not play Week 17. The club is hopeful Martin can contribute should Dallas see the playoffs. Martin last saw action in Week 12 where he injured his calf against Washington. Safet Steven Parker also last appeared in Week 12 when he injured his ankle, was activated as well. Parker could potentially play Sunday, and his return would help mitigate the losses of defensive backs Darian Thompson and Rashard Robinson.