Sunday Night Football
Dallas @ N.Y. Giants
Team Totals: Cowboys 24.5, Giants 21
With Brandin Cooks on board, Michael Gallup a full season removed from 2021’s ACL tear, and CeeDee Lamb having established himself as the NFL’s premier power-slot receiver, the Cowboys have a decidedly pass-first look entering 2023. Mike McCarthy’s Packers offenses leaned heavily on the pass, while Ezekiel Elliott’s departure secures dynamic in-space playmaker Tony Pollard as Dallas’ feature back. I expect the Cowboys to throw the heck out of the ball this year, and for that to begin Sunday night. In first-rounder Deonte Banks and sixth-rounder Tre’ Hawkins, the Giants appear set to start two rookies at boundary corner. … Hyper-efficient in 2022, Pollard gained at least 10 yards on 16% of his carries — best in the league — and his 1.5 yards per route run ranked No. 5 among qualified backs. The Giants were concerned enough about their linebacker corps that they traded for Cardinals draft bust Isaiah Simmons at final cuts. I wound up ranking Pollard as my overall RB3 behind only Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler.
Taking over as Dallas’ passing-game centerpiece, Lamb’s target share leaped from 20% in 2021 to 29% in 2022. And as Lamb runs nearly 85% of his patterns in the slot, few NFL receivers are privy to more layup routes. On target totals of 12 and 11, Lamb torched Giants DC Wink Martindale’s group for stat lines of 8/87/1 and 6/106/0 last season. … Cooks turns 30 later this month but generated rave reviews for his speed on the practice field in training camp and should immediately slide in as Dallas’ No. 2 wideout as a picturesque stylistic complement to Lamb.
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