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Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Would Be Break For Giants

Dallas running back reportedly bracing for one- or two-game ban

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott dives for a touchdown against the Giants last season.
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott could be facing a one- or two-game suspension from the NFL stemming from an investigation into a 2016 domestic violence accusation against the Dallas Cowboys’ star running back. If that comes to pass that would be huge news for the New York Giants, who face the defending NFC East champs Week 1 in Arlington, Tx.

Per ESPN, "The NFL is looking to pin something on him.”

The investigation stems from a July 2016 incident where no charges were filed.

The league’s personal conduct policy calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense, even if a player is not charged or convicted. Lesser penalties can be imposed if there are other factors to be considered. That is what happened a year when Giants’ placekicker Josh Brown received a one-game suspension.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the league is in a difficult position relative to Elliott:

On one hand, the league needs to placate Jones, who has more power than ever and who, we’re told, made it clear to the powers-that-be a year ago that he won’t be as gracious and compliant as Patriots owner Robert Kraft if a star player gets banned for something the boss thinks is bogus. On the other hand, the league needs to be cognizant of the potential P.R. consequences that would flow from a decision to give Elliott a pass — especially if his alleged victim files a lawsuit and eventually tells a compelling tale of domestic violence that the court of public opinion finds persuasive.

All of that aside, what really matters from a Giants’ perspective is whether or not a suspension is actually handed down, and what impact it would have on the season opener, a meeting between the top two teams in the division last season.

Our friends at Blogging The Boys report that oddsmakers shaved about a half-point off the odds for Week 1, shifting the Cowboys from 5-point favorites to 4.5.

Elliott gained 1,631 yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry and was named All-Pro in his rookie season. If Elliott doesn’t play, veterans Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden would likely be asked to handle the running duties. Both have had good careers, but lack Elliott’s explosiveness.

The result might be more pressure on quarterback Dak Prescott to carry the offense. Prescott had two of his worst three games last season vs. the Giants. He complete just 25-of-45 passes in a 20-19 Week 1 loss, and only 17-of-37 with two interceptions (his only multi-interception game) in a 10-7 Week 14 loss.