NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 PFF ReFocused: New York Giants 23, Dallas Cowboys 19

Jan 3, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (22) reaches for a fumble with Dallas Cowboys free safety Xavier Woods (25) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rare to see a game in Week 17 with both teams vying for a possible playoff berth while a potential top-10 pick is also on the line.

The New York Giants took down the Dallas Cowboys in the contest, but whether New York ultimately hosts a playoff game next weekend will depend upon Sunday night’s game between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the Game

Much will be made of Mike McCarthy’s non-challenge that led to a field goal and forced the Cowboys to have to try to score a touchdown late instead of kicking their own go-ahead field goal, but Dallas threw away more opportunities than just that. Not the least of which was a crucial drop by rookie CeeDee Lamb on second down of the Cowboys' final series that would have put them in reasonable scoring position inside the 10-yard line. Dallas receivers had five balls slip through their hands on the day.

Of course, the Giants did their fair share of trying to cough up the game, as well. Quarterback Daniel Jones was on top of his game and didn’t have a single turnover-worthy play for only the fourth time this season. He did, however, still have an interception, as one of Evan Engram’s two drops on the day ended in the hands of Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson.

Jones’ terrific day came hand in hand with one of the best performances so far this season from the Giants' offensive line. On 29 pass-blocking snaps, the unit combined to allow all of two pressures. Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux and Cameron Fleming each surrendered no pressures.

Rookie Watch

As noted, Andrew Thomas held up well all day in pass protection against a talented Cowboys edge group. He wasn’t the only rookie doing work for the Giants, though.

Second-round safety Xavier McKinney showed why the Giants were so high on him. He blew up a screen and then made the game-ending interception (although it was a gimme pick). While he missed the first 11 weeks with injury, McKinney had a strong finish to the season.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts, and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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