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Fact or Fiction: Predictions for Giants vs. Cowboys

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Daniel Jones will run more than five times on Sunday.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- Jones had two interesting answers at the end of his media availability on Wednesday:

"I feel good, I feel healthy. But I think you can tell from the tape that I'm not… I can't do a lot of the same things I'm used to doing. I'll continue to work and work to improve. But for the time being, I'll probably have to adjust the way I play. I've been doing that the last few weeks."

He then responded to a follow-up question: "I certainly haven't been as involved in the run game, certain areas of getting out of the pocket, scrambling, things like that. But I feel good. I feel a lot better, and I'll continue to work with the trainers and improve."

It doesn't sound like Jones intends to run it five times on Sunday, but his answer could also be gamesmanship ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Cowboys. Jones' ability to create chunk plays in the run game made a difference during the Giants' mid-season winning streak, and if he can utilize his legs against a porous Dallas run defense it could be the difference between a win and a loss.

Lance Medow: Fiction- In his last two appearances combined, Daniel Jones has run once. In the first 11 games of the season, he had more than five runs in five different contests. Although Jones is a few weeks removed from his hamstring injury, he suffered an ankle injury on Dec. 13th against the Cardinals. He only ran two times in the first meeting against the Cowboys in week 5 and the Giants will likely lean on Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris to set the tone in the backfield.

The Giants need a defensive or special teams touchdown to defeat the Cowboys.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- The Giants do not need to score a touchdown on defense or on special teams, but one of those units will have to set up the offense at least once with a short field to give the team a chance to win. In their wins this season, nearly 31% of the Giants points have come off of turnovers. They were +9 in turnover ratio in their wins. Dallas, meanwhile, is +9 in turnover ratio during their current three-game winning streak (with only one turnover of their own). When the Giants scored 34 points in the Week 5 loss at, they needed a defensive touchdown and a short field on another possession to score a touchdown. The team that wins the turnover battle on Sunday probably wins the game.

Lance Medow: Fact- The Giants had a defensive touchdown in the first meeting against Dallas when Kyler Fackrell returned a Dak Prescott interception 46 yards, yet they still lost by three points. The Giants' offense has scored less than 20 points in each of the last five games and two touchdowns and 26 points combined over the last three. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are averaging 36 points during their winning streak, so New York could certainly use a boost from its defense or special teams.

View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Pass protection is a bigger key than the pass rush for the Giants on Sunday.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- The lack of pass rush is the bigger issue. A consistent pass rush leads to more takeaways. The importance of forcing turnovers was made clear in the previous statement. The real difference between the Giants who won four straight and lost three straight is their defense. The defense took the ball away 10 times during their four-game winning streak, but only once in their past three games. The defense has also been unable to consistently get off the field, allowing more than 390 yards in each of their last four games. Combined with the offense's inability to generate first half points, the result as been the Giants playing from behind and becoming one-dimensional on offense. That's when pass protection becomes a problem. All the sacks for Arizona and Baltimore game in the second halves of those games. If the Giants defense can get consistent pass rush, they can avoid playing from behind and prevent their pass protection issues from becoming an issue at all.

Lance Medow: Fact- You can't dismiss either because they're both an issue, but allowing too many sacks is a bigger problem because of the recent struggle to score points. The Giants have allowed 15 sacks during their current three-game losing streak, including at least six in two of those contests. These sacks have either completely stalled drives or put the offense in several third-and-longs, making it that much more difficult for New York to move the chains. When you're averaging just 17 points per game on the season and under nine over the last three games, you can't afford to absorb any negative plays - regardless of how your defense is performing.

There won't be as much scoring as there was in the Week 5 matchup in Dallas.

John Schmeelk: Fact-The Cowboys' defense has gotten slightly better the past three weeks, allowing 21 points per game. In the three games leading up to the Giants game in Week 5, Dallas had allowed 42 points per game. Dallas has had the benefit of playing against three quarterbacks (Brandon Allen, Nick Mullens, Jalen Hurts) that did not begin the season as starters in their last three games and posted 10 takaways with signs of improvement. The Giants' defense, despite their issues the past three games, have fostered a much stronger identity since Week 5 and is preventing big plays more effectively than they were earlier in the season. It's unlikely either team will blow by 30 points, but figure on at least 24 points (maybe 27) to win the game.

Lance Medow: Fact- Each team had a defensive touchdown in the first meeting, so that means the Giants' offense manufactured 27 points and the Cowboys 30. On top of that, New York scored another touchdown after Andy Dalton fumbled a snap and the Giants took over on the Dallas 17. So three Giants had touchdowns, but just one came as the result of a lengthy drive (seven plays, 75 yards). Both defenses have improved since Week 5, although "much lower scoring" can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Don't expect this to be a grind-it-out, field goal battle, but the teams won't combine for 71 points.

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