Zeke Signs: What Impact This Has for the Giants in Week 1

Getty Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott swarmed by a plethora of Giants defenders

If you skipped the morning coffee shop visit or forgot to plug your phone in overnight, you may have missed the completion of the Zeke holdout dilemma. The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones broke their standstill, and the bank, for Ezekiel Elliott early Wednesday morning.

This is obviously great news for Elliott and Dallas fans alike. Yet not everyone is jumping for joy this morning after hearing the news. The New York Giants, Dallas’ week 1 opponents, will have to quickly gather themselves and game-plan for arguably the best back in football, if not, certainly the richest.

Just a few days ago Giants defenders were likely foaming at the mouth, ready to welcome   Dallas rookie 4th rounder Tony Pollard to the NFL. Instead, they will have to buckle up their chinstraps and prepare for a running back who’s ready to dish out as much punishment as he will receive. Ezekiel Elliott ranked third in the NFL last season in yards after contact with 718.

Dallas fans can stop holding their breath at the potential of Dak Prescott having to shoulder the offense. Elliott led the NFL in nearly every rushing statistic a season ago, including rushing attempts and rushing yards per game, staking claim that the Dallas Cowboys offense runs through their all-pro running back. So how will the Giants slow down the rejuvenated Cowboys run game come week 1?

Zeke Tends to Start Slow

Cabo Zeke” should come in looking lean and mean, and don’t expect Dallas to take any time to get Elliott acclimated to the speed of the NFL after missing the entirety of the offseason. Paying a man north of $100 million means that he must perform like a man worth $100 million, the day he steps foot in the building. The issue is, whether he’s in game shape or not, Elliott has almost always struggled to get out of the gates quickly.

Elliott has eclipsed 83 rushing yards in just one game within the first two weeks of each of his three NFL seasons. In fact, if you compile Elliott’s first two games from 2016-2018, his yards per game come out to a meager 65.5, a far cry from what you would expect from the richest running back in the NFL.

Giants are Built to Defend the Run

GettyGiants defensive linemen BJ Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson

For all the accolades Elliott has received during his NFL career, and rightfully so, he has had his fits at times when running into Big Blue defenders. Elliott’s first-ever NFL game was against the New York Giants in 2016 where he put up a whopping 2.6 yards per carry, a far cry from his 4.7 ypc career average. Over Elliott’s four career matchups vs. the G-Men, he has averaged 85 ypg and held below 79 rushing yards in half of them.

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has made a plethora of head scratching moves since taking the helm in New York. Yet one thing you can’t question is how he’s built the interior of his defensive line. Gettleman is like a giddy farmer at the county fair the way he collects “Hog Mollies.” New York’s starting defensive front within their 3-4 defense checks in at a hefty average of nearly 324 lbs per player.

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