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Players to watch in Week 10 NFC East matchup


Sunday's game is the second consecutive NFC East matchup for the Cowboys, and the first of two straight for the Giants. The Cowboys went on the road and lost to the Eagles last week, while the Giants will travel to take on the Commanders in Week 11.

Here are five players to keep an eye on in the Week 10 matchup.

QB Tommy DeVito

With Daniel Jones out for the season and Tyrod Taylor on injured reserve, DeVito will make the first start of his NFL career against the Cowboys. The undrafted rookie has appeared in each of the last two games, filling in for Taylor against the Jets and for Jones against the Raiders. He wasn't asked to do much in his first NFL action, although he did run for his first NFL touchdown.

But last week in Las Vegas, DeVito completed 15 of 20 passes (75 percent) for 175 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Now for the first time, DeVito will receive all of the first team reps at practice this week, with head coach Brian Daboll announcing the 25-year-old rookie as the starting quarterback on Wednesday.

"It's going to be a little different for him, obviously," Daboll said about the rookie practicing with the first team this week. "He was up here early yesterday on the players off day, and I'd say we met for a while. He's putting everything he has into it. He's looking forward to the opportunity and he'll be out there with the first group, we had a good walkthrough with him so he's doing everything he can do to put himself in a good position to be ready to go."

"I'll be getting the same reps, more now with the ones instead of doing scout team, but it's the same day in and day out process that I've been doing this whole time," DeVito added.

The Cowboys have had success defending the pass this season. Dallas enters this matchup ranking sixth in passing yards allowed on the year, while their nine interceptions are tied for fifth in the league. Cornerback DaRon Bland leads the way with four interceptions, while fellow cornerback Stephon Gilmore ranks second with two.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 10 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

RB Saquon Barkley

With the Giants turning the offense over to the team's third-string quarterback, Barkley could be looking at another high-volume day. In last week's loss to the Raiders, the talented running back had just 16 carries but gained 90 yards, good for a season-high average of 5.6 yards per carry. He also caught three passes for 23 yards, giving him 113 total yards from scrimmage.

Barkley has played well since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for three weeks. In the four games since coming back, Barkley has had at least 98 total yards from scrimmage in each outing with an average of just over 114. During that same span, the sixth-year back has also averaged over 24 carries in addition to over three receptions per game.

"Saquon is a great teammate," Daboll told the media Monday. "He's a good guy to work with. He'll do anything to help the team."

While the Cowboys' pass defense is among the best in the league, their run defense ranks middle of the pack. Dallas is 15th in rushing yards and yards per attempt allowed and 17th in rushing touchdowns surrendered. In last week's loss to the Eagles, the Cowboys held D'Andre Swift to 43 yards on 18 carries, although he did add two receptions for 31 yards.

LT Andrew Thomas

The offensive line received a significant boost this past Sunday with the return of Thomas. The All-Pro left tackle injured his hamstring in the first quarter of the season opener and went on to miss the next seven contests. But Thomas made it back for Week 9, and while Pro Football Focus had him down for five total pressures allowed, the most important thing was that the tackle made it through the game without suffering any setbacks.

"Coming out of the game, I feel good today," Thomas said on Monday. "Moving around pretty good, I did my lift when we got back, so I'm feeling pretty good."

Thomas was listed as limited in the first practice of the week on Wednesday, but it does not appear as if his status for this Sunday is in doubt. The Giants will need him against the always dangerous Cowboys pass rush, led by perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons. The third-year pass rusher leads the team with 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hits. Defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. is second on the team with 3.5 sacks, while DeMarcus Lawrence has two on the season.

DL Dexter Lawrence

Following last year's breakout campaign that saw him earn his first All-Pro selection, Lawrence has quietly put together another dominant season. Through the first nine games of the year, the 25-year-old has picked up three sacks and 14 quarterback hits, most of which has come in recent weeks. Between Weeks 7 and 8, Lawrence had all three of his sacks and nine of those quarterback hits.

While he may not have been blowing up the box score to start the season, Lawrence has been a force all year. Pro Football Focus has him down for 44 total pressures so far this season, which puts him on pace to shatter his career-high of 63 pressures set last season. Lawrence's 92.3 overall grade from PFF is not only the highest of all interior defensive linemen in 2023, but it is also the highest of any player 25-years-old or younger in the NFL.

The Cowboys have surrendered 23 sacks through their first eight games, which is the 11th-most in the league. After only being sacked three times through the first three weeks of the season, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been sacked at least three times in each of their last five games, including five in last week's loss to the Eagles. Philadelphia defensive tackles Jalen Carter and Fletcher Cox each picked up a half-sack this past Sunday, while Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had two sacks against the Cowboys the previous week.

ILB Micah McFadden

McFadden continued his encouraging sophomore season with another strong performance against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9. McFadden totaled six tackles (three solo), two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. He also dropped into coverage on 15 snaps and did not allow a single reception. His performance earned him a spot on the PFF Team of the Week.

McFadden has seen his production increase over the last four weeks. Since Week 6, the 23-year-old has allowed just four receptions in coverage while picking up seven defensive stops. He has earned an overall PFF grade of 87.9 or higher in three of the four outings, and had the highest grade of any linebacker in Week 7. McFadden's 90.6 overall grade since Week 6 ranks third among all linebackers.

The second-year linebacker has started all eight games this season and has either topped or is on pace to beat all of his rookie season marks. McFadden has recorded 54 tackles (31 solo), seven tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, two passes defensed, one interception and two fumble recoveries along with 0.5 sacks. McFadden also has 11 total pressures on just 38 pass rushing snaps, according to PFF, after totaling just six pressures last season.

"He's a good, young player," Daboll told reporters Wednesday. "I'm happy we drafted him and he's really earning the things that he's getting. He's been productive. He's got a nose for the football, can play sideline-to-sideline, makes some productive tackles. He's really developed the way you hope young players develop."

While the Cowboys have struggled to run the football in recent weeks, running back Tony Pollard cannot be overlooked. Pollard has 664 total yards from scrimmage this year, coming off last year's Pro Bowl campaign in which he totaled nearly 1,400 yards from scrimmage while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Additionally, tight end Jake Ferguson ranks second on the team with 32 receptions for 328 yards, while his three touchdowns are tied with CeeDee Lamb for the most on the team. McFadden will be called upon to help contain both Pollard and Ferguson.

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


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