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Giants at Cowboys picks, predictions: BBV staff weighs in on who will win

How BBV’s writers see tonight’s outcome

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Can the New York Giants avoid an 0-2 start to their 2018 NFL regular season? Here is what your Big Blue View staff writers are predicting for tonight’s outcome against the Dallas Cowboys.

Chris Pflum

I said that I wasn't going to to pick the Giants to win until they showed me reason to believe that they could win. But this is a division rivalry game, and I just can't bring myself to pick against them when they're playing the Dallas Cowboys.

I could say that I saw some things to make me believe that they Giants are close to breaking out -- and it wouldn't be a lie. They did some good things against the Jaguars on both offense and defense. I loved the variety of play and formation on offense and the aggressiveness on defense, and once things “click” on offense, this team could cause a lot of problems for just about any team they will face.

There are, of course, problems. Namely, the offensive line and mental mistakes (penalties, drops, miscommunications, etc). Also, the Cowboys' strengths match up well with the Giants' weaknesses. They have a good pass rush which could (should) give the Giants problems up front, and their own offense targets the middle of the field, where the Giants' defense is weakest.

But all that said, I'm picking the Giants for my uncle Gene, who passed away this summer. He was one of the biggest Giants fans I've ever known, and just loved seeing them beat Dallas. So I'll say that a halftime adjustment sees the Giants surge past Dallas.

Final score: Giants 32, Dallas 24

Season record: 1-0

Dan Pizzuta

There’s a few matchups in this game that should favor the Cowboys if we assume rational coaching. The problem with the Cowboys is that assumption is not a safe one. I wrote about the cat and mouse game that might be played when Dallas has the ball. The Cowboys want to run, the Giants want to stop it, the Cowboys know that’s the Giants’ plan. All of that should open up play-action (which the Jaguars used on 37 percent of their pass plays in Week 1, the third-highest rate in the league). But the Cowboys only used play-action on 15 percent of their plays against the Panthers. That’s baffling for a run-heavy team. If they up that rate, they could take advantage of a Giants defense focuses so much on Ezekiel Elliott.

Dallas should also have the advantage along the lines. The Cowboys allowed pressure on 30 percent of their offensive plays against the Panthers (11th-most per Sports Info Solutions charting from Football Outsiders), but the Giants only created pressure on just 20 percent of Jacksonville’s pass plays (23rd) and will be without Olivier Vernon again. On offense, the Giants allowed pressure on 33.3 percent of pass plays (eighth-most), while the Cowboys created pressure on 37.9 percent of the Panthers’ pass plays (sixth). Demarcus Lawrence also lined up against the right tackle on all but two of his snaps in Week 1 — hello, Ereck Flowers.

If there is a rational coach on the Cowboys, it’s Kris Richard, the former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator and current defensive passing game coordinator. Without a lot of top-tier talent in the secondary, they held the Panthers to just 79 yards passing to wide receivers, the fourth-lowest total in Week 1.

The Giants clearly have more talent at wide receiver, but that might not matter if Eli is consistently under pressure and routinely throwing short of the sticks.

Neither team was particularly impressive in Week 1 and I wouldn’t be worried to take the under.

Final score: Cowboys 17, Giants 13

Season record: 1-0

Patricia Traina

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Okay, so you know how the saying goes. And the reason why I’m not going to let myself get fooled again is because last week, I truly thought the Giants offensive line would be much better than it showed. I thought the starting offense would finally get its first passing touchdown and I thought the Giants would score a lot more points than it did.

This week, I’m concerned about too many match-ups that I don’t feel favor the Giants. These include DeMarcus Lawrence vs, Ereck Flowers and slot receiver Cole Beasley vs. slot cornerback B.W. Webb, just to name a couple.

I’m concerned about the run blocking by the offensive line — Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is one of the best in the business at stuffing the run.

And I sure as heck hope that the Giants have an answer on keeping quarterback Dak Prescott from running wild.

Perhaps they do have answers to all these concerns and they’ll get out of Big D with a win. But right now, I’m just not feeling it and I have a sinking feeling the Cowboys are going to pull this one out late in the game.

Final score: Cowboys 27, Giants 20

Season record: 0-1

Andrea Hangst

The Giants and Cowboys have similar strengths and weaknesses, but the Giants have a better grasp of the former and more promise in overcoming the latter. In many ways, the Giants are a rebuilding team, and there will thus be hiccups along the way. The Cowboys, though, are established—entrenched in this current iteration of their identity. And it’s failing them. Dallas is, in short, a team in trouble, while the Giants are a team working their way back, albeit not without their warts. This will be a close game, given these realities, the divisional rivalry, the national stage and the burning desire by both teams to not fall to 0-2. But the Giants are, right now, the better team with more promise, and that is why they will defeat the rapidly-deflating Cowboys.

Final score: Giants 23, Cowboys 16

Season record: 1-0

Mark Schofield

Just who do you trust in a game between two teams who struggled to protect the quarterback a week prior, and two quarterbacks who struggled to make plays when they had opportunities?

While it may just be Week 2 of the NFL season, you might consider this a mini elimination game. Historically speaking, teams that start 0-2 face an almost insurmountable task when it comes to making the playoffs. According to this piece from Justis Mosqueda at Optimum Scouting, since the new playoff format was implemented, teams that start 0-2 miss the playoffs over 90 percent of the time. That’s ... a big deal. Making Sunday night ... a big deal.

When studying the two quarterbacks in this game there is a big difference in how both failed to take advantage of opportunities. When Manning had open receivers, he missed them with throws. When Prescott did, he both missed them with throws, but also failed to even pull the trigger. Advantage, New York.

Sometimes that’s all it takes in a game like this.

Final Score: Giants 20, Dallas 10

Season record: 1-0

Kevin Haswell

The New York Giants showed in Week 1 that they have the potential to win a lot of games this season against good teams as long as they can close out games. Against the Jaguars last week, Big Blue had so many opportunities to win and didn’t take advantage. This week, against a struggling Cowboys bunch, the Giants pull out their first win of the season. Even though the Cowboys are favored in this one, I see the Giants winning by more than a touchdown.

Final Score: Giants 24, Cowboys 14

Season record: 1-0

Joe DeLeone

Were you deterred by the lackluster performance by the Giants against the Jaguars? Well, I have wonderful news for you.

The Cowboys are the perfect opponent for the Giants to get back on track. Facing a defensive behemoth like Jacksonville is no easy task. To produce the numbers the Giants did was a positive sign, and they will have the opportunity to blow the lid off of this game.

Dallas’ defense lacks any true defensive talents. One prized pass rusher lines up outside in Demarcus Lawrence. Their linebacking core is talented but has struggled to stay healthy. The Cowboys’ secondary is a liability besides corners Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie.

You should expect a lot of offensive production for the Big Blue this weekend. While Saquon Barkley struggled to get going before his 68-yard score in Week 1, this will not be the case against the Cowboys. Additionally the Giants offensive line will not be as much of a glaring hole thanks to favorable match ups.

On defense, the G-Men will not be facing the same elite offensive line from two seasons ago. Last week Ezekiel Elliot struggled mightily to find rushing lanes, and Sunday night will be no different. Like Landon Collins alluded to, if Dak Prescott is forced into long passing situations the Giants defense will be able to shut them down.

Albeit both teams did not produce big offensive numbers in Week 1, this game will be a high scoring one. After four quarters of play the Giants will come out on top by two scores.

Final score: Giants 33, Cowboys 24

Season record: 1-0

Ed Valentine

Coming off a season-opening loss to the Jaguars there are both things to worry about with the Giants and things to feel good about. My wife doesn’t exactly think of me as an optimist, but when it comes to this 2018 Giants team I am going to come down on the optimistic side of the ledger for the time being.

Coach Pat Shurmur has continued to say he feels like the Giants are on a good path. Players involved in last season’s 3-13 debacle continue to insist that there is a different feeling about this team, that last season isn’t going to happen again.

I am going to choose to remain on the sunny side of the street for now. I will believe that the Giants will hit enough of the plays there were near-misses a week ago. I will believe that the defensive plan of controlling Ezekiel Elliott and making Dak Prescott try to win the game in the air will bear fruit. I will choose to believe that Demarcus Lawrence won’t destroy Eli Manning.

Part of my reason for all that optimism is that I think this is a vulnerable Dallas team. The Giants should find success if they can contain Elliott and neutralize the Cowboys’ pass rush.

Final score: Giants 27. Cowboys 24

Season record: 0-1