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The Dallas Cowboys have been an absolute buzzsaw during their first pass through the NFC East. Having already dismissed the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles by a combined margin of 44 points at AT&T Stadium, the road portion began in Week 14 with a win over the Washington Football Team. Dallas led 24-0 at halftime, further stating their dominance over the division as they held on for a seven-point win after things got sloppy.
In Week 15, they’re right back in the gauntlet as they travel to New York to take on the Giants for Round 2. There were some prognosticators who thought the Giants had what it took to make a leap into playoff contention this season, but it’s been more of the same game out of Gotham. To help us track how bad it’s been, we reached out to Giants Wire editor Dan Benton to shed some light on the latest happenings. In exchange, we provided some inel about what Dallas has in store in their travel bags.
Giants Wire: After starting the season 6-1 and looking dominant, the Cowboys have gone 3-3 over their past six games. What's led to the drop-off in consistency?
COVID and injuries. Dallas withstood a lot of losses early, such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Michael Gallup and La’el Collins being lost after Week 1, but things really came to a head going into the bye week. Dak Prescott’s calf injury, Tyron Smith’s ankle, Ezekiel Elliott’s knee, CeeDee Lamb’s concussion, Amari Cooper’s unvaxxed COVID coincided with Randy Gregory’s COVID and then calf injury… the list goes on and on.
It’s really tough to maintain excellence over that stretch with so many injuries. Now that most of those guys have returned (save Smith who is out again), Dallas is working on getting the consistency back. It hasn’t been pretty, but they’ve won two straight on the road and have enjoyed 17 and 24-point leads in those contests respectively. They’re still one of the top teams in the league.
Cowboys Wire: The Giants roster barely resembles NFL caliber as it is, are they considering bringing anyone if off the street with the mini-outbreak going on this week?
I wouldn’t call it a mini-outbreak at this point. The cases continue to tick up even during this discussion and they’re also dealing with a flu outbreak. Coupled with a league-leading number of players on injured reserve and the most starts missed due to injury (COVID not factored in here), it’s a rough go for the Giants these days.
Who plays on Sunday? Your guess is literally as good as mine. It could very well get to the point where Logan Ryan starts at quarterback.
Giants Wire: Micah Parsons is a wildly talented defender that's suddenly drawing comparisons to Lawrence Taylor. He thinks it's a foolish comparison. Do you agree?
Impact-wise it’s a fair comparison, but there’s no comparison to the violence LT wreaked on opposing offenses. Football was a different game then. Perhaps if Parsons was allowed to flying lariat or suplex some of these QBs like the heel he was born to be it’d be different, but they’ve changed the rules. What we’re seeing from Parsons is incredible. Through 13 games he has better stats across the board than Khalil Mack did when he won DPOY.
The fact he’s elite at 22 at both edge rusher and off-ball linebacker is insane. 11 teams will kick themselves for passing on him. Dallas was both fortunate and lucky.
Cowboys Wire: When we spoke earlier in the season, I asked about any regret over trading away from Parsons. Has your answer changed at all?
There were a number of people down on Micah Parsons coming out of the draft, but I really wasn’t among them. That said, I don’t look back with “what-if” vision. The Giants’ target was always going to be DeVonta Smith and once that ship sailed, it was time to make something else happen. The head-to-head value of those picks and that decision won’t become known until we see who the Giants take with their second first-round pick in 2022.
Now, with all of that having been said, if I faced a scenario where I had to go back and double-think it, I’d prefer the Giants pass on Parsons again in favor of Rashawn Slater.
Giants Wire: Ryan Clark (and some others) have taken aim at Dak Prescott this week, claiming he's holding the Cowboys back. Is that accurate or is he merely in a slump that all NFL players endure at times?
Prescott certainly isn’t playing like he was before the calf injury. There’s no question about that, but there’s been something completely off about the offense. There’s a ton of drops by the receivers and miscommunication in routes run vs routes expected.
Dallas will need to clean it up, but fortunately their defense is playing so well they should have a couple weeks of matchups against lesser opponents to sort things out.
Cowboys Wire: What's your overall view as to how the Giants will approach the QB position this draft, with those two high picks? Is Daniel Jones' job safe?
Quarterback isn’t even going to be considered. Daniel Jones is the very least of this team’s problems and deserves a fair shake. Two head coaches, three offensive coordinators, four different play-callers, a league-worst offensive line, a bottom-third rushing attack and receivers who lead the NFL in drops and are among the bottom in separation is tough for anyone to overcome.
The deck has been stacked against Jones and that would remain true for anyone they drafted or signed over him. Until the team fixes their other offensive issues and finds some level of stability, the quarterback play is going to suffer greatly.
Giants Wire: The Giants will be looking for a new general manager in a few weeks. Is there any chance Jerry Jones would allow Will McClay to potentially walk out those Jurrah World doors?
Not a chance in hell. McClay doesn’t want to go anywhere while his kid is in school, so Dallas has him for at least a couple more seasons. By then, maybe Jones will be ready to walk away (not likely).
Cowboys Wire: Will the next Giants GM have a full rebuild ahead of him or is this a roster that mostly needs better leadership and a few impact players?
That’s a difficult question to answer. Defensively, plug in an edge rusher that can create organic pressure and Patrick Graham’s unit is good to go. Offensively, there’s a lot more questions to answer for all of the reasons I started previously.
But is that what the next GM will want?
Probably not — most want to build their own roster from the ground up. For that reason — and one I’ll touch on here in a moment — I see the Giants staying in-house on the next general manager. It’s likely be Kevin Abrams, who’s had a hand in assembling this mess, so he’ll be loyal to a lot of the current players.
Giants Wire: After the Giants fired Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator, what was the reaction and general consensus in Cowboys land? How was the termination viewed?
It was mixed. Some weirdos were happy that he was fired, others didn’t have much of an opinion. Clearly nobody wanted the Giants to have a strong offense, but a lot of us are appreciative of the competitive nature of the Cowboys under his reign and would’ve liked a better ending. From everything we’ve seen the last few weeks, not much has changed since he was dismissed, which make it seem like he was the first, not the last firing on the horizon.
Cowboys Wire: Seeing how the Giants, like other NFC East rivals, love looking to Dallas to get talent. Are there rumblings of interest in Kellen Moore or Dan Quinn should Joe Judge be fired?
None. And that’s largely because Joe Judge isn’t going to be fired. John Mara and team ownership have already publicly committed to him beyond this season and Judge revealed earlier this week that a deal was in place over the amount of time he’d be given.
On top of that, multiple reports have surfaced that the Giants haven’t soured on Judge one bit. If anything else, they’ve become more firmly dedicated to him, believing they’ve found their “Bill Belichick” or “Bill Parcells.”