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Giants at Cowboys, Week 5: First look at Sunday’s matchup

New York still looking for first victory

NFL: DEC 29 Redskins at Cowboys

The New York Giants travel to Arlington, Tx., to face face the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. For the 0-4 Giants, this begins a stretch during which five of their next six games will be against NFC East competition.

Incredibly, at least on paper the Giants have not played themselves out of the division race despite being winless after a quarter of the season.

NFC East standings

Philadelphia Eagles 1-2-1
Washington Football Team 1-3
Dallas Cowboys 1-3
New York Giants 0-4

Here is Dallas coach Mike McCarthy on the division’s struggles to date:

“I think, obviously, three of the four teams all went through changes. There’s always a transition period and frankly we’re still going through our own transition to get to where we want to get to as fast as we can,” McCarthy said.

By the numbers

The Giants are currently 10-point underdogs for Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. ET nationally televised game.

Dallas is third in the league in points per game (31.5). It could be a tough ask for the Giants, last in the league in scoring at 11.75 points per game, to keep up. Fortunately, the Cowboys (36.5 points per game) are last in the league in points allowed defensively. The Giants, 12th in the league in points against per game (24.0) are coming off a game in which they held the high-powered Los Angeles Rams to 17 points and 240 yards.

“We saw some progress from our offense, there was definitely some more balance last week,” Giants coach Joe Judge said.

A few more numbers:

  • 1,897: That’s how many receiving yards Evan Engram has in his career. That places him fourth in the NFL in receiving yards by a tight end since he entered the league in 2017.
  • 328.3: That’s how many yards per game the Giants are allowing. They are fifth in the NFL in total defense.
  • 26: The Giants have 26 tackles for loss, third in the NFL.

Jason Garrett returns to Dallas

The return of Garrett, coach of the Cowboys for 10 seasons before being fired at the end of the 2019 season, will be back in Dallas for the first time as Giants offensive coordinator.

Injury updates

Judge didn’t have much on Wednesday in the way of updates on safety Jabrill Peppers, safety Adrian Colbert and linebacker Oshane Ximines. Peppers missed last week’s game with an ankle injury, while Colbert and Ximines were injured during Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Fans in the stands

The Giants have played in empty stadiums their first four weeks. Sunday will be the first game the Giants play with fans in the stands, as AT&T Stadium will be at about 25 percent capacity.

“It’s exciting,” Judge said. “We all want fans there. There’s a different kind of energy home and away, but I think both really add to the atmosphere and add to the environment.”

McCarthy said the limited number of fans doesn’t really provide an advantage for the Cowboys.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s good for everybody because it’s not loud enough to create a crowd noise advantage for our team,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think it really creates a better atmosphere for both teams. Just to compare having fans to having no fans, it’s clearly night and day. I think our fans do a great job, but I think the offenses of the opponent still have an ability to communicate.”