This Sunday afternoon’s matchup between the Giants and Cowboys will be one that is seriously lacking in the stakes department.
Dallas’ victory over Tampa Bay in Week 16 clinched them the NFC East division title, so they’re guaranteed a playoff bid. But they also have nothing to play for. A win does not improve their potential matchup, and they have no chance at securing a first-round.
New York is in a similar boat, albeit at the opposite end of the spectrum. They’ve long since had nothing to play for. They’re 5-10 and expected to be without star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. This could be quarterback Eli Manning’s last game in a Giants uniform, so there’s that emotional element attached to it, but the squad figures to be noticeably undermanned. We might even see Manning get the ax early if the Giants are more concerned with prioritizing their draft positioning.
At the same time, the Cowboys are just as likely to rest their key players. Quarterback Dak Prescott isn’t expected to see too many snaps. We’d bank on something similar happening with superstar running back Ezekial Elliott.
If the Giants are going to keep all of their first-stringers in for even three-quarters of a game, they should have the juice to win this one. Even with their zero-point dud in Week 15, the offense is starting to find a groove. They’re averaging more than 26 points per game since Week 12, and Dallas’ relatively conservative approach could make for another high-scoring outing even without Beckham in the fold. New York is laying a -7, and we’re cautiously optimistic that they’ll cover.
Prediction: New York Giants (-7)