Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott is the key to Victory on Monday night

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys are geared up to play the Giants on Monday Night Football for a primetime divisional matchup. Currently, the Cowboys are underdogs at +1, essentially a pick ’em game. The Giants sit at 2-0 after squeaking out victories versus the Titans (1-2) and the Panthers (2-1). Similarly to the Panthers in 2021, the Giants meet the Dallas Cowboys while undefeated. But this is not a team the Cowboys won’t be able to handle.

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a hard-fought victory against the Bengals where backup quarterback Cooper Rush led the team on a game-winning drive to seal a 20-17 victory off the leg of Brett Maher.

The defense has looked fantastic in these first two weeks, 4th in the league in sacks (8) due to the performance of the second-year stud Micah Parsons. They’ll be matched up against a middle-of-the-pack Giants offense currently 20th in the NFL in total yards per game (329.5) and 15th in points per game (20). But defense is not the key to victory on this Monday night bout.

This game will be won in the trenches for the Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott will be the key to victory against the Giants. Elliott may have slowed down over the course of his career and fans everywhere have called for Pollard to take the lead. This should not be the case.

Zeke can open up the field for a guy like Cooper Rush who should not be relied upon to take control with his arm. When Elliott can ground and pound between the tackles this forces defenses to drop more players into the box, allowing for more players over the top.

Often, when teams are getting beat inside, they will drop a safety down so there is a single high safety. This causes weaker coverage, opening the field up for guys like Cee Dee Lamb. The Giants are 25th in run defense according to PFF (50.7) and allow 118 rushing yards per game. The Dallas Cowboys should take advantage of this weakness.

Historically, the Giants have always been a favorable matchup for Zeke. In 12 career games against the Giants, Elliott has 827 total yards with eight touchdowns. Along with 4.33 yards per attempt, Zeke always eats in this divisional matchup.

I also believe Pollard’s success is predicated upon Zeke’s effectiveness between the tackles. In five out of the six games last season that Zeke averaged four YPC, Pollard was also able to average four plus YPC. Elliott can wear out defenses so when a smaller, more elusive back takes the carries more chunk plays can form.

This defense has proved to us that it is among the elite in the NFL. I’m not worried about their ability to shut down a Daniel Jones that has shown time and time again he can’t execute when the lights are brightest. He will be seeing Micah Parsons in his nightmares, or “seeing ghosts” just like fellow 2018 draftee Sam Darnold.

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If Elliott can pound the rock, the entire offense will be able to open up and the Dallas Cowboys will be sitting at 2nd place in the NFC East. Feed Zeke