The Giants are back after an eight month hiatus. Here are three things to watch for when they kick off against the Dallas Cowboys on SNF this evening
Darren Waller’s injury status
The Giants were rolling into week 1 on a high note - health-wise - before the report came out this past Friday that Darren Waller injured his hamstring in practice. With that news came collective groans across the New York/New Jersey area as Waller is officially questionable prior to tonight’s game against Dallas.
Waller has missed 16 games over the last two seasons, and although his talent is remarkable, there have been question marks surrounding his health. With Waller slated as the no.1 receiving option in the Giant offense, an absence of any kind would prove detrimental to a team that is going to rely heavily on his usage.
All that said, it seems as though Waller has a good chance of suiting up on Sunday night, and per Jordan Raanan, it seems that it was merely a tweak of the hamstring.
As of two hours ago, Dan Graziano confirmed that the Giants believe Waller should be ok to play tonight. The Giants were most likely just being cautious with their star and limiting him in practice this past Friday was probably the right move.
Cowboys could possibly be without a few starters
Tyler Smith logged DNPs in practice from Wednesday-Friday this past week and is doubtful to play in tonight’s game
Tyron Smith didn’t practice on Wednesday but was limited in Thursday and Friday’s sessions and he is questionable for tonight
Donovan Wilson is doubtful and most likely won’t play after logging DNPs throughout this past week
All in all, the Cowboys are not deep at the offensive line position. Tyron Smith lines up at LT while Tyler Smith lines up at LG, so if one or even either of them were to miss tonight’s game, it could mean added pressure from the right side of Wink Martindale’s defense (Looking at you Leonard Williams and Kayvon Thibodeaux).
Donovan Wilson missing this one would also be a big blow to a Cowboys defense that has received high praise as one of the best heading into 2023. With him most likely out of the picture and Malik Hooker popping up on the injury report late in the week with an illness, expect the Giants to take shots to try and open up the field a bit more. Wilson also registered 101 total tackles last year, so he’ll be a big missing piece in the box for the Cowboys as they look to fend off Saquon Barkley in the run game as well.
Giants rookie corners in the spotlight
I couldn’t go too long without mentioning Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III…..
The Giants’ 2023 first round and sixth round picks, respectively, will make their season debut opposite of each other this evening. I for one love that the Giants are confident in their young guys and are willing to give them a shot, in primetime no less, to pick right back up that strong play they showcased in the preseason.
The Cowboys have weapons and will most likely attack both sides of the field early and often to test them out. With the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup and Jake Ferguson leading the Cowboy offense, it should be interesting to see how Wink uses his two rookie corners and if his tendency to run nickel and dime packages will help relieve at least some of the pressure on them.
Listen, there are certainly going to be growing pains for the two rookies, but their play in the preseason earned them these roles. Daboll and Wink wouldn’t throw them out there if they didn’t think they were ready for the spotlight. This should be a confidence-boosting test for Banks and Hawkins III and it will be a treat to watch how they adjust.