The (7-3) Dallas Cowboys play host to the (7-3) New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day for a holiday showdown between playoff contenders and division rivals. The Cowboys are riding the momentum of Sunday's thrilling bashing of the eight-win Minnesota Vikings, while the Giants are looking for a bounce-back win after losing 31-18 to the Detroit Lions. Kickoff from AT&T Stadium will be at 4:30 p.m. EDT. Dallas is an 8.5-point spread favorite, and the game total is 44.5 points.
New York has its chance to prove it's for realThe Giants, 3-1 on the road this season, fell to a suddenly-hot Lions team at home on Sunday, as Detroit running back Jamaal Williams ran for a career-high three touchdowns. The loss was a humbling one, as the Lions forced three turnovers and held New York running back Saquon Barkley to just 22 yards on 15 carries. The NFL's leading rusher, Barkley was averaging 103.4 yards per game through the first nine games of the 2022 campaign. It was just the second time he's been held under 70 rushing yards this season. Quarterback Daniel Jones had his moments (344 passing yards, 50 rush yards on seven carries, and three total TDs) but turned the ball over twice, his first picks since Week 3.
New York is in surprising contention for a wild card berth after winning only four games last season. The G-Men have taken care of the football with a plus-one turnover differential, something they failed to do last season (-8). Jones' breakout under new head coach Brian Daboll has been a catalyst, as has the return of the oft-injured Barkley. Without these three, the Giants clearly would not be in the position they're in with just seven games left in the regular season.
We don't mess around 😈— New York Giants (@Giants) November 20, 2022
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/6TT3VKdmbm
That said, the defense has also shown improvement in 2022. New York is surrendering 20.4 points per game, down from 24.5 last season, and is allowing fewer passing yards per game. While just 25th in the NFL in takeaways (9), they're doing enough to win football games, the only stat that matters.
Dallas is putting it all together, one snap at a timeConsidering quarterback Dak Prescott has only been available in four total games, Dallas has played consistently good football this season. The Cowboys, winners of three of their past four, walloped the Vikings last game, totaling 458 yards to the Vikings' 183. Dallas also controlled the time of possession, holding the ball for 37 minutes compared to Minnesota's 22. It was Prescott's best game of the year, as the 29-year-old was nearly flawless (22-for-25, 276 passing yards, and 2 TDs).
To keep the good vibes going, Dallas needs more of these games from Prescott. In the two games the Cowboys lost with him under center, he completed less than 60 percent of his passing attempts and threw for as many interceptions as touchdowns. Defeating a good Vikings team on the road was a statement, but we won't know for sure if this Cowboys team is capable of winning in the playoffs if Prescott doesn't string together several solid performances in consecutive regular season games.
The Dallas defense has been exactly what fans hoped it could be, with team MVP Micah Parsons (47 tackles and ten sacks) leading the way. The Cowboys are first in points allowed, first in passing yards allowed, fourth in takeaways, and eighth in total yards allowed per game. The defense has been suspect against the run, however, ranking 26th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. That was on full display two weeks ago against Green Bay, when the Packers' rushing attack led them back from a 14-point deficit to win 31-28. You have to give them credit, though, for how Dallas responded against Minnesota, limiting star running back Dalvin Cook to 72 rush yards.
"We knew we were going to be the heart and soul of this team," Parsons said on NFL.com. "Defense wins championships, and we know the talent we have in this room. Whether the offense scores zero or 100, we still have to come out and play. Offense has nothing do with how we drive ourselves. Even if their energy is down, it doesn't reflect what we do."
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Does Dallas have a championship pedigree? This is what we'll find out over the final seven games, with opportunities against New York and Philadelphia to prove it's the class of the NFC East. It's been a long time since the Cowboys hoisted the Lombardi Trophy (1996), and with their division stronger than it's been in a while, it will take a hungry team to make it to the finish line. We will see how prepared Dallas and New York will look in a short week after challenging games.
Will the Giants show up against their NFC East rival? The G-Men are 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. NFC East. That's not a large enough sample size to simply pick their opponent, but it's a telling trend, nonetheless. On the other hand, New York is 5-0 ATS in its last five games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game. That stat doesn't tell us if the Giants will be more careful with the football, though. In the first game against Dallas, Jones threw one interception but passed for only 196 yards and didn't throw a touchdown pass. In a must-win game at Dallas, he needs to prove he's worthy of the new contract likely coming to him this offseason. Barkley, too, can't disappear as he did versus Detroit.
With the way the Cowboys played at Minnesota, it's tough to pick against them. Dallas is 4-0 ATS in its last four home games, too. With that said, I haven't seen enough dominating performances like the one vs. Minnesota from this Cowboys team. The Giants are still 7-3, and in a divisional rivalry game, an 8.5-point spread is too favorable to the home squad. I'll bet New York keeps within one score of its rival on turkey day.
My bet: Giants +8.5 points.
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is a hot bet for both teams, plain and simple. It is 6-0-1 in the Giants' last seven games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game and 7-0 in their last seven games in Week 12. It is also 6-1 in the Cowboys' last seven games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game and 6-1 in their last seven home games. With this being an NFC East rivalry game on a holiday during a short week, a lot is working in favor of the under. I believe the Cowboys' defense will show up in a big way again, and the Giants' own unit will show up with a spirited effort.
I'll take the under at 44.5 total points scored.