With the Dallas Cowboys season all but over with one more loss, they face a huge obstacle in Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
It seems like quarterback Eli Manning and the New York Giants always have some say in determining the fate of the Dallas Cowboys year after year. As this season was unfolding and losses were piling up for the Giants, it was looking like this could be a season where the Cowboys may be able to put the Giants in the rear view mirror and focus on their own success.
Well, here we are going into week 14 with the Giants being one of the worst teams in the NFL all year and they are going to, again, potentially determine the fate of the Cowboys 2017 season.
With as bad as the Giants have been all year, it all came to a head last week when Manning was benched in an unheralded and extremely unpopular manner; being unbelievably benched for Geno Smith. This was the icing on the cake for the disaster that has been the Giants 2017 season. This was the move that waved the white flag saying “we give up.”
The Cowboys had to have been sitting back and breathing a sigh of relief with Smith at the helm right? Well, in typical Cowboys fashion, think again.
The day after the failed Manning benching and Smith looking like the same quarterback the New York Jets decided to move on from, the coach and general manager responsible for the historical benching were relieved of their duties with the Giants and Manning was named the starter again for the Giants; just in time for the Cowboys coming to MetLife Stadium desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Now here we are with Manning making a return to the starting lineup after seeing his historical 210 consecutive start streak coming to an end and playing the rival Cowboys. Not only do the Cowboys have to deal with a highly motivated Manning, they have some of their own roster issues they will have to deal with on Sunday. They will be without standout defensive tackle David Irving and cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
Without Irving, even more will be asked of NFL sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence. A rotation of rookie tackle Lewis Neal and former practice squad tackle Richard Ash will most likely be used to fill Irving’s void. Without one of their top two pass rushers, a slight drop off in pressure should be expected against Manning.
The Cowboys have made their intentions clear to play their rookies in the secondary with three rookies expected to start against the Giants. The time is now to see what they have in rookies Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods.
Manning will once again have the chance to play spoiler for the Cowboys much like he did in 2007 when he eliminated Dallas from the playoffs after a 13-3 season, much like he did in 2009 when he beat the Cowboys in their first regular season game at AT&T Stadium and autographed the wall inside the stadium. Will this Sunday be the next chapter in a series of forgettable encounters with Eli Manning?