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Dak Prescott, Cowboys Beat Giants, Strengthen Lead over WFT, Eagles in NFC East Race

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 20, 2021

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The Dallas Cowboys are still a factor in the race for the NFC's No. 1 seed.

Dallas completed its season sweep of the NFC East rival New York Giants with a 21-6 victory in Sunday's divisional showdown at MetLife Stadium. The defense led the way for the Cowboys, who improved to 10-4 on the season with their third consecutive win.

Dallas Cowboys @dallascowboys

Bing-BONG! 💥<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNYG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNYG</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/WinStarWorld?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WinStarWorld</a> <a href="https://t.co/PRLtaMZYFJ">pic.twitter.com/PRLtaMZYFJ</a>

They are chasing the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the race for a first-round bye. All three of those teams entered the Week 15 slate at 10-3, although Arizona lost to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Mike Glennon threw three interceptions for the Giants, who fell to 4-10 with their third straight loss.


Notable Player Stats

  • Dak Prescott, QB, DAL: 28-of-37 passing for 217 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL: 16 carries for 52 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches for 20 yards
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL: 8 catches for 67 yards, 1 TD
  • Mike Glennon, QB, NYG: 13-of-24 passing for 99 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs

Dallas Offense Does Enough in Win

While the Cowboys are comfortably ahead in the NFC East, the offense was under the spotlight Sunday after owner Jerry Jones said during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan it was "probably fair" to consider Dak Prescott in something of a slump.

The quarterback threw for less than 300 yards in five of his previous six games and had two interceptions in last Sunday's win against the Washington Football Team. Fortunately for the visitors, even a so-called slumping quarterback could sit back in the pocket and pick apart New York's secondary.

Dallas seized a 15-3 halftime lead with Prescott efficiently taking what the defense gave him with a series of short throws.

Ezekiel Elliott found the end zone for the lone touchdown of the first half, and Tony Pollard showed plenty of burst when given the opportunity.

NFL @NFL

Zeke finds the end zone! <a href="https://twitter.com/EzekielElliott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EzekielElliott</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNYG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNYG</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/Gwu0wvWDds">pic.twitter.com/Gwu0wvWDds</a>

NFL @NFL

Dak to Dalton for SIX. <a href="https://twitter.com/dallascowboys?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DallasCowboys</a> take a 21-6 lead.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNYG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNYG</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/MLHyCyqv98">pic.twitter.com/MLHyCyqv98</a>

NFL @NFL

Watch Zeke move the pile. <a href="https://twitter.com/EzekielElliott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EzekielElliott</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNYG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNYG</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/WNeTLcLf47">pic.twitter.com/WNeTLcLf47</a>

Prescott didn't do anything spectacular to flip any individual narratives about his play of late, but he didn't have to with his running backs and defense taking control of the game in the early going.

Prescott eventually notched a touchdown pass in the third quarter when he hit Dalton Schultz on a one-yard pass to create some more breathing room, although Greg Zuerlein missed his second straight extra point on the ensuing kick.

Still, Prescott threw for less than 300 yards again and lost a fumble on a sack inside his own territory when the Cowboys had an opportunity to work the clock with a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Fortunately Dallas overcame the turnover by forcing a punt and then an interception. The two-time Pro Bowler also made more than enough throws to keep the chains moving and kept his team right in the race for the NFC's top seed.


Mike Glennon Abysmal Against Strong Cowboys Defense

This lost season for the Giants became even worse when supposed franchise quarterback Daniel Jones was sidelined with a neck injury, which left Glennon under center for the third straight game.

It didn't take Glennon long to make a mistake, as he threw an interception to Jourdan Lewis on New York's first possession.

The pick was just the start of the problems for an offense that managed just three points in an ugly first half. Its only promising drive before intermission stalled in a field goal, and Saquon Barkley lost a fumble for the first time in his NFL career to set up a Cowboys field goal with 1:43 left in the second quarter.

NFL @NFL

TREVON DIGGS. 10TH INTERCEPTION. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TrevonDiggs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TrevonDiggs</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNYG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNYG</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/riEwC5UATA">pic.twitter.com/riEwC5UATA</a>

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

The Trevon Diggs breakout season continues 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/5f5XT79u7g">pic.twitter.com/5f5XT79u7g</a>

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Micah Parson’s position:<br><br>DEFENSE<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/jGLUdkKQDi">pic.twitter.com/jGLUdkKQDi</a>

NFL Research @NFLResearch

The Cowboys are the first team to have a player with 10+ INT (Trevon Diggs) AND a player with 10+ sacks (Micah Parsons) since the 2007 Chargers (Antonio Cromartie with 10 INT, Shawne Merriman with 12.5 sacks)<a href="https://twitter.com/dallascowboys?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dallascowboys</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

One-handed snag by Saquon 😳<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/89dTpfPaPH">pic.twitter.com/89dTpfPaPH</a>

That Cowboys fans made their presence known at MetLife Stadium only added insult to injury for a team looking to play spoiler.

Even positive things like a long fourth-down run by Devontae Booker eventually led to more frustration for the Giants when a holding penalty undercut the drive and forced a Graham Gano field goal that cut the deficit to 15-6.

Throw in a turnover on downs in their own territory that led to a Dallas touchdown and another Glennon interception, this time to Malik Hooker, and the struggles were only exacerbated.

While Sunday's version of New York's offense is the furthest thing from a juggernaut, much of the credit goes to the Dallas defense. The Hooker interception was its 11th forced turnover in the last three games for a unit that is playing at an elevated level with the playoffs approaching.

It was just a matter of time before another INT from Glennon came, and he threw his third of the game to Trevon Diggs in the end zone. It summed his day, and the Giants even switched to Jake Fromm in the final minutes.        


What's Next?

Both teams face NFC East foes in Week 16, with the Cowboys hosting the Washington Football Team and the Giants traveling to play the Philadelphia Eagles.

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