The Giants visit the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday. Here are a couple matchups that could determine the game:
Deonte Banks vs. CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb is playing like one of the top receivers in the NFL. He has the 5th-most receiving yards in the league (824) despite already despite playing one fewer game than everyone ahead of him due to the Cowboys' bye week. His 57 receptions are tied for 10th in the NFL.
In Lamb's last three games, he has had at least 7 catches and 117 yards in each game and, in each of the last two, he has had double-digit receptions and more than 150 yards. During the three game stretch, he has 30 catches for 466 yards, two touchdowns and 18 catches of 15+ yards. As a point of comparison, the Giants, as a team, have 32 of those receptions all season.
Lamb will split his time between the slot and outside. In the last three weeks, he has played 73 snaps as a traditional outside receiver and 93 snaps in the slot. He is used on a lot of crossing routes, as a field stretcher over the top, and the Cowboys will get him isolated in space in the middle of the field on whip routes. He has a good rapport with Dak Prescott and will find ways to get open when plays break down.
Deonte Banks has often drawn the other team's top wide receiver the last few weeks. There were many snaps against Las Vegas, especially in the first half, where the Giants dedicated two players to Davante Adams. The Giants could pursue that strategy against Dallas given the struggles their auxiliary receivers have had.
Michael Gallup has only 22 receptions for 243 yards and gone though trouble creating consistent separation. Brandin Cooks has not hit his stride yet this season, and only has 17 catches for 165 yards, though he still looks very fast on the field. Tight end Jake Ferguson is the team's second-leading receiver with 32 catches for 328 yards.
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
Cowboys' pass rush vs. Giants' O-line
Micah Parsons might be the star of the show but it is how the Cowboys rush the passer as a unit that makes them so dangerous. The Cowboys only have 21 sacks, which is tied for 17th in the NFL, but they lead the league in pressure rate (48.2%), according to Pro Football Focus. They also have the second-highest quick pressure rate (pressure in under 2.5 seconds) in the league.
The Cowboys do it with talented individual pass rushers but they also generate pressure with their defensive scheme. Only the Green bay Packers run twists and stunts more often than the Cowboys (36%) and Dallas has the 9th-highest blitz rate (34%). In fact, 92% of Dallas's blitzes bring five men, which generates 1-on-1 opportunities for their pass rushers.
Parsons remains one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He is second to Maxx Crosby with 53 pressures, despite having 68 fewer pass rush snaps. His 7.5 sacks is tied for 9th in the NFL and he has the third-best pressure rate (21.4%). Parsons splits his time on the edge almost evenly right and left, but he will also line up in a three-point stance or stand up over guards and the center to create favorable matchups and set up some of the team's twists and stunts.
Dallas has four other players – yes, four - in the top 23 of individual pressure rates in the NFL: defensive ends Sam Williams, Dante Fowler, DeMarcus Lawrence, and defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa. Aside from Parsons, the Cowboys have four players with a least two sacks, including Dorrance Armstrong with 3.5 and Odighizuwa with three.
Not only will the Giants' offensive line have their hands full, but so will the quarterback position. It will be important to work with John Michael Schmitz to get the pre-snap protections right, and get the ball out quickly. The Cowboys run a variety of coverages on early downs to confuse the quarterback, and will challenge opponents with tight man-to-man coverage on third downs. Dallas has nine interceptions, which is tied for the fifth in the NFL. The ball has to come out of the quarterback's hands quickly, and to the right receiver to prevent negative plays that could sink the Giants chances quickly.
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 10 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.