The Giants endured a tough loss against the Detroit Lions on Sunday as they fell, 31-28, for their third loss of the season.
Brian Daboll's squad cannot afford to get too caught up in the Week 11 loss as they have a quick turnaround before their next game. The Giants will travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys for a special Thanksgiving Day matchup.
The Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, handing the host Minnesota Vikings their second loss of the year in a 40-3 walloping.
Here are five storylines to follow in the Thanksgiving matchup.
1. Turning the page quickly
Sunday's loss was only the Giants' second outing not to finish as a one-possession game this season. The Giants lost by 13, but it would have been even more had it not been for Richie James' late fourth-touchdown. The offense turned over the ball a season-high three times, while the defense failed to register one. Despite the struggles, the Giants must turn the page quickly as they return to the field only four days later.
"It wasn't our first loss," Daboll said Monday. "You come in after a loss; you don't feel great. You feel very disappointed. You put a lot of work into it during the week, and you don't get the results you want. You should be disappointed, but you can't let it linger. In this particular case, it's such a quick turnaround. You've got to move on quickly. That's something that we've stressed really since we've gotten here: Take it day-by-day. Learn from the things you can learn from. You're going to hit bumps in the road. Whether that's a practice or a game, a play, a call, a decision, those things are going to happen. And you move on from them."
The Giants will have an opportunity to get back at the Cowboys for the Week 3 matchup in which Dallas handed Big Blue their first loss of the season. However, the team may be a bit short-handed for the Thursday game. Six Giants, including five starters, had to leave the Detroit game with injuries. However, Daboll knows his team will be ready to compete, no matter who suits up.
"We're not about excuses – never will be. We have people on our roster that are going to be ready to play," said the head coach. "And that's our job as a coaching staff is to get these guys ready to play. Again, you're always going to hit adversity – whether it's in a game, whether it's in a season. We've talked about that since April. I don't think that's something you all of a sudden talk about. You have to teach it, and you have to try to learn from it. And that's everybody – it's myself, it's the coaches, it's the players, it's the support staff. You have to believe in your process. You have to go out there and try to execute the best you can. And if you do those things, you live with the results. And you move onto the next week."
2. Injury updates: Wan'Dale out for the year
Daboll wouldn't go into much detail about the injuries during his Monday press conference, but revealed Wan'Dale Robinson suffered a season-ending ACL injury. The promising rookie wide receiver caught a season-high nine passes for 100 yards in the game and had become one of the most reliable receiving options over the past month.
"Wan'Dale had a good game," said Daboll. "He was really trending in the right direction."
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson suffered a knee injury returning a punt in the first half of Sunday's game and was later ruled out. Cornerback Fabian Moreau also was ruled out after suffering a rib injury. Both were listed as non-participants in Monday's practice (practice designations are a projection with the team limited to walk-throughs in the short week), so their game status is uncertain.
Right tackle Tyre Phillips and center Jon Feliciano (both neck injuries) also left Sunday's game with a neck injury. Opening day right tackle Evan Neal returned to practice last week after going down with a knee injury during the Week 7 win in Jacksonville. Neal got a couple of limited practices in and was listed as doubtful on the final injury report vs. Detroit, but did not suit up. It's too early to tell if he will be able to face Dallas. Versatile veteran Nick Gates came through the Lions game fine after he took over for Feliciano in the second half last Sunday.
"There's good communication with really all of them," Daboll said about the team's offensive linemen. "I think (OL coach) Bobby (Johnson) has done a good job of mixing those guys throughout practices, too, and giving them reps so that different guys are working with different guys. And that's really no different than really wherever else I've been. Obviously, you would love to have the same five guys out there. But usually, that's not the case. You're going to have to adjust and make sure those guys are doing a good job of communicating with one another."
The seven players listed as DNP on Monday's injury report were TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), OL Joshua Ezeudu (neck), Feliciano (neck), Jackson (knee), WR Richie James (knee), CB Moreau (oblique) and Phillips (neck).
3. Filling in at WR
Robinson suffering an ACL injury is just the latest blow to the team's wide receiver corps. Collin Johnson looked poised for a big role on offense this season before he tore his Achilles late in training camp. Just over one month later, Sterling Shepard, the longest tenured player on the team, was lost for the season following an ACL injury of his own.
James seems like the most logical replacement for Robinson in the slot. The veteran ranks tied for third on the team with 23 receptions, while his 230 yards ranks second. After Robinson departed Sunday's game, James stepped in and caught all three passes thrown his way for 48 yards and a touchdown. However, James is now dealing with a knee injury.
One player the Giants will have to lean on even more following Robinson's injury is Darius Slayton. Following a slow start to the season, Slayton has 23 receptions for 402 yards and two touchdowns over the past six games, and is coming off a Week 11 performance in which he was targeted a season-high 10 times.
Kenny Golladay could also be in line for more snaps. Golladay caught his first two passes (for 29 yards) since Week 1 on Sunday. Isaiah Hodgins played in his second game as a Giant and caught three passes for 29 yards (70 yards on five grabs over the past two weeks), but did lose a fumble. The depth chart also includes Marcus Johnson and David Sills, in addition to practice squad members Robert Foster, Kalil Pimpleton and Makai Polk.
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
4. Get the run game going
Heading into Week 11, Saquon Barkley led the NFL in rushing yards and was second in rush attempts. Barkley had his most difficult outing of the season against the Lions, gaining 22 yards on 15 carries for an average of 1.5 yards per attempt. The total yardage and average yards per carry were the lowest of the season for the fifth-year running back. Barkley still ranks second in the league with 953 rushing yards.
Barkley will look to get back on track on Thanksgiving. In Week 3 vs. Dallas, the 25-year-old registered 14 rush attempts for 81 yards (5.8 avg.) and scored a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 45 yards. Barkley is averaging over 5.0 yards per carry in seven career games against Dallas.
Although the Cowboys have allowed the fewest points (16.7 avg.) in the league and rank ninth with 310.6 yards allowed, their defense ranks 26th in both rushing yards allowed (136.1) and yards per attempt (4.7). While they limited the Vikings to just 73 yards on the ground this past Sunday, Dallas surrendered over 200 rushing yards in each of their previous two games (207 against the Packers, 240 against the Bears).
5. Who steps up at CB?
Similar to the wide receiver position, the Giants appear to be short-handed when it comes to cornerbacks. Aaron Robinson remains on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in Week 4. Now Adoree' Jackson (knee) and Fabian Moreau (oblique), the top two cornerbacks on the depth chart, could be in danger of missing the Week 12 matchup after both were listed as non-participants in practice on Monday.
The Giants have several players who could be in line for increased playing time if Jackson and Moreau don't suit up. Nick McCloud was on the field for 39 defensive snaps (58 percent) Sunday and finished with three solo tackles, including one tackle for loss. Second-year cornerback Rodarius Williams made his 2022 debut and had four solo tackles on 27 snaps (40 percent). Meanwhile, rookie Cor'Dale Flott registered a pass breakup and three tackles (two solo) on 22 snaps (33 percent). All three could see more of a role this week.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has averaged 263.7 passing yards with multiple TD passes over each of his past three games. He also has a 7-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio during that span with an additional score on the ground. Prescott had perhaps the most efficient outing of his career against the Vikings on Sunday as he completed 88 percent of his passes for 276 yards with two TDs and no interceptions for a passer rating of 139.3.
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