Tommy DeVito will make history this Sunday in Dallas as the first rookie free agent quarterback to start a regular-season game (in a non-strike year) for the Giants in the common draft era. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only nine undrafted rookie quarterbacks have started an NFL game since 2010, including Chicago's Tyson Bagent this season.
DeVito, the third-string quarterback since the summer, was the next man up for the Giants after Daniel Jones (torn ACL) and backup Tyrod Taylor (ribs) were placed on injured reserve. The team will now head to AT&T Stadium for the second leg of the season series, which the Cowboys have swept the past two years.
Here are three keys to a victory:
Win the turnover battle
The Giants have lost 12 of their last 13 games against the Cowboys and have turned the ball over more than twice as much as the NFC East rival (24 to 11). Takeaways are equalizers, but only one team has been able to force multiple takeaways against the Cowboys this season. It was the vaunted 49ers, who won 42-10. On the other side, DeVito will need to protect the ball in his first career start.
"I think it's a shock to everybody, not to have one quarterback but two quarterbacks go down," DeVito said. "I mean it's tough. The quarterback position runs the team, and to have one and two go down like that, you would've never guessed that to happen. But again, it's a physical game, injuries happen, it's part of it, it's the worst part about the game, but it's the next man up mentality and like I said before, I'm going to rely on everyone else around me."
DeVito was asked if he expects Dallas to bring the house against him.
"They might," he said. "Yeah, we're going to be ready for everything. We'll see."
Lean on Saquon
Saquon Barkley has 388 rushing yards since returning from a sprained ankle in Week 6, the most in the NFL. His 97 carries over last the last four games are also the most in the league – by 20 carries. Barkley will be DeVito's best friend on Sunday.
"He works hard," Barkley said of DeVito. "He comes to work every single day, and he's got an unbelievable opportunity, so [I] just reassured him that we've got all the confidence in the world in him, and we've got his back."
Barkley later added, "I don't go into any game with any expectations of how many times I'm going to touch the ball. Just want to be in position to win football games, go out there and compete and whatever that takes, I'm willing to do."
All three phases
The Giants' first game against the Cowboys – and their season – went sideways when Juanyeh Thomas blocked Graham Gano's 45-yard field goal attempt and Noah Igbinoghene returned it for a touchdown. The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead on the Giants' first drive of the 2023 season en route to a 40-0 victory.
"Obviously, it was the first play of the game, first score the game, and you don't have to remind them of that," special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. "But obviously we did. It's one of those deals. It's a play that happened. You've got to learn from it and move on from it and be better because of it."
Gano is now out for the season, and the Giants have turned to Randy Bullock and Cade York.
"You always want to [have urgency], especially in our situation," McGaughey said. "Like, we're 2-7. We're trying to do something to help us win the game. The more we can do as a special teams unit to be able to possibly score is going to help us win. So, I think that's something that we're always striving to achieve. Obviously now it's even more sense of urgency, not just by us, but by the defense and everybody else because of where we are."
Stats to impress your fellow football fans
Barkley is one of four running backs (Travis Etienne, Alvin Kamara & Christian McCaffrey) with 100+ scrimmage yards per game in 2023, minimum five games played.
Outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux is one of two players in the NFC (Danielle Hunter) with 8+ sacks.
The Cowboys are 3-0 with 37.0 points per game at home in 2023 (2-3 with 21.8 PPG on the road).
Dak Prescott leads the NFL with seven touchdowns passes following the Cowboys' Week 7 bye. He had only six in the first six games.
CeeDee Lamb leads the league with 466 receiving yards since Week 6 and has set new career-highs in receiving yards in each of the last two weeks.
Linebacker Bobby Okereke is one of two players (Quincy Williams) with 80+ tackles and 9+ TFL (career-high 9) in 2023.
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 10 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.