3 Key Giants Starters Won’t Make Trip for Thanksgiving Game vs. Cowboys

Brian Daboll

Getty Images Giants head coach Brian Daboll looks on during a game.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will have a vastly different combination of offensive linemen in front of him when Big Blue plays the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

The Giants announced Wednesday that they will be without four offensive linemen, three of whom are usually starters. According to the team, rookie guard Joshua Ezeudu (neck), center Jon Feliciano (neck), guard Shane Lemieux (toe), and offensive tackle Evan Neal will not make the trip to Dallas.

Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) and tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye) will also stay behind in New Jersey.

There was some positive injury news, as cornerback Fabian Moreau (oblique), safeties Dane Belton (clavicle) and Jason Pinnock (jaw) and wide receiver Richie James (knee) are still in play for the team’s Thanksgiving game.

Still, the Giants’ offensive line absences for Thursday are less-than-ideal for Jones and the New York offense against a Cowboys defense that has the fourth-highest quarterback pressure rate.

Likely Fill-Ins on Offensive Line

The Giants will still start left tackle Andrew Thomas and right guard Mark Glowinski on Thursday as both haven’t missed a game this season.

Still, the team’s offensive line is decimated by injuries.

Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com believes the Giants will start Nick Gates at center, with Jack Anderson and Devery Hamilton vying for starting at left guard and either Tyre Phillips or Matt Peart getting the start at right tackle.

Gates would be making his first start in 2022. He played in the final 25 snaps at center when Felicano went down against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. It was Gates’ first opportunity on the offensive line since returning from a serious leg injury last season that required seven surgeries to fix. He played a total of 18 snaps in the previous two games as an extra blocker.

As for left guard, the Giants could start Hamilton, who was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Monday, or Anderson.

The Giants have two options at right tackle. If Phillips (neck) can’t play, the team could go with Peart, who finished the game Sunday after Phillips went down.

Peart, a third-round draft pick in 2020, hasn’t allowed a sack on 72 career snaps over three games against the Cowboys. He’ll have a chance to make his first start since 2021, when he made five starts before suffering a torn ACL in December.

New York will be without first-round rookie Neal for a fourth straight game as he’s dealt with a sprained MCL. In his first meeting against the Cowboys, Neal gave up three sacks to DeMarcus Lawrence.

Head coach Brian Daboll said the fact that the Giants were only holding walk-through practices this week made his health harder to determine.

“What’s tough is just how we’re getting ready to play this game,” Daboll said on Tuesday. “Of course, he wants to be out there.”

Daboll Wants to Win Turnover Battle Against Cowboys

Prior to Sunday, Jones hadn’t thrown an interception since their Week 3 matchup against the Cowboys. Jones’ six-game streak of not throwing an interception came to an end when he threw two picks in their 31-18 loss to the Detroit Lions.

The Giants also had a lost fumble in their losing effort on Sunday.

Daboll believes there’s a correlation between losing and having a negative turnover margin, and that reflects how the Giants have lost their three games.

“It’s hard to win a game when it’s 3-0 in the turnover battle,” Daboll said, via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. “The percentages don’t favor you very much. … In our three losses, we’ve had six turnovers directly related to 24 points. Conversely, in the seven wins, we’ve had five turnovers, and those led to six points. So, turnovers are huge; they always are. And we’ve got to keep working on that.”

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