By: Mark Lane


Cowboys at Giants


The Cowboys are 9-6 for the sixth time in franchise history. 2/5 of those previous teams made the playoffs with only the 1998 team having won the division. Neither the ’98 nor the ’06 team won a playoff game.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 66/102 teams that started 9-6 made the playoffs with 19 of them having won the division.

The Giants are 5-10 for the third time in franchise history. 1/2 of the previous seasons were followed up with a playoff-qualifying season.

Dallas is going for their 22nd sweep of the Giants in series history. With 21 sweeps so far, it is the most sweeps against a divisional foe in Cowboys history. For the Giants, only the Eagles with 22 sweeps own the most against the club since 1960.

Dallas is 29-25-1 against the New York Giants on the road. Here is the record broken down by venue:

Yankee Stadium: 7-3-1
Yale Bowl: 2-0
Shea Stadium: 1-0
Giants Stadium: 14-19
MetLife Stadium: 5-3

The Cowboys are 12-13-1 against the Giants in December.

The Cowboys are 120-101-1 all-time in December with a 60-58-1 record on the road.

Since 1940, the Giants are 134-136-2 in December with a 73-71-2 record at home.

Since 1970, the Cowboys are 158-119 all-time in early games with an 81-78 record on the road.

Since 1970, the Giants are 221-197-1 in early afternoon games with a 154-121-1 record at home.

Since 1970, the Cowboys have a 63-62 mark in early afternoon games played in the Eastern Time Zone.


Among qualified quarterbacks, Prescott is tied with Derek Carr for the ninth-lowest touchdown percentage in the NFL at 3.7.

Prescott’s 68.3 completion percentage is the eighth-lowest in the NFL.

Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, Prescott’s 7.3 yards per pass attempt is tied with Kirk Cousins for the third-lowest in the NFL.

Prescott’s 10.6 yards per completion is tied for the third-lowest in the league.

Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, only Russell Wilson has a lower passing yards per game average than Prescott’s 233.2.

Prescott’s 52 sacks are the second-most in the league.

Prescott has orchestrated four game-winning drives, tied for third-most in the NFL.

Prescott’s 305 rushing yards are the 10th-fewest among quarterbacks this season.

Prescott and Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen have rushed for the most touchdowns by quarterbacks with six.

Despite being sacked more times than Eli Manning, Prescott actually has fewer yards lost than Manning: 328 to 355.


Manning is tied with Jared Goff for the ninth-most pass attempts with 535.

Manning has the 10th-most passing yards with 3,998.

If Manning fails to throw beyond 19 touchdowns Sunday, 2018 will be his third season below 20 passing touchdowns and second consecutive season of doing so.

Manning’s 7.5 yards per pass attempt are the 10th-highest among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1.

Manning has been sacked 46 times in 2018, the fifth-most in the NFL.

Manning has thrown the sixth-most times inside the red zone with 82 throws.

Manning’s 46.34 completion percentage inside the red zone is the second-lowest among quarterbacks in the top-10 in most throws inside the red zone. Only Aaron Rodgers’ 42.47 is worse.

Moving inside the 10-yard line and limiting qualifiers to those with at least 20 passes, Manning’s 47.06 completion percentage is fifth-worst in the league.

Manning is tied with Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson for the eighth-most passing touchdowns inside the 10-yard line with 12.

Among active Super Bowl winners, Manning is the only one with the longest playoff win drought of seven seasons.


With Todd Gurley out Sunday, and unless Giants running back Saquon Barkley can rush for 237 yards, Elliott will finish with his second league rushing title, joining him with Emmitt Smith as the only Cowboys running backs to have multiple rushing titles.

If Elliott gets the rushing title, it will give the Cowboys eight total rushing titles in NFL history. The Cleveland Browns possess the most with 11.

Among the eight running backs in the 1,000-yard club in 2018, Elliott’s six rushing touchdowns represent the fewest.

Elliott’s 4.7 yards per carry are the fifth-most among running backs in the 1,000-yard club.

Elliott’s 95.6 rushing yards per game are 6.2 yards more than Gurley’s second place total of 89.4.

Elliott leads the NFL with 304 rushing attempts, 48 more attempts than Gurley in second place.

In 2018, Elliott has had 354 touches. In his rookie season, through 15 games, Elliott had 381 touches.

Elliott has taken the seventh-most handoffs inside the 20-yard line with 39.

Elliott’s 105 rushing yards in the red zone are the sixth-most in the NFL.

Elliott has been the subject of 56/134 of Dallas’ red zone plays with an 11/38 rate inside the 5-yard line.


This is the 31st week of Garrett’s career that the Cowboys have been in undisputed first place in the NFC East.

Garrett is 23-16 against coaches who have yet to qualify for the playoffs with a 12-4 record on the road.

Garrett is 32-20 against the NFC East.

Garrett is 18-8 against the NFC East on the road.

Garrett has completed a series sweep 9/15 times since taking over as Cowboys head coach.

Garrett has executed a series sweep 5/7 times since taking over as Dallas head coach.

Garrett owns a 10-6 against the Giants. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

Tom Landry: 35-16-2
Jason Garrett: 10-6
Chan Gailey: 3-1
Jimmy Johnson: 5-5
Barry Switzer: 4-4
Bill Parcells: 4-4
Wade Phillips: 3-5
Dave Campo: 1-5

Garrett is 5-3 against the Giants on the road. Here is how that compares to other NFC East opponents:

Philadelphia: 7-2
Washington: 6-2
New York: 5-3

Garrett’s 20-16 December record contains the second-most such wins in club history:

Tom Landry: 63-43-1
Jason Garrett: 20-16
Jimmy Johnson: 13-7
Bill Parcells: 8-9
Barry Switzer: 7-8
Wade Phillips: 5-7
Dave Campo: 4-9
Chan Gailey: 3-5

Garrett is 12-8 on the road in December. Here is how that compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

Landry: 28-22-1
Garrett: 12-8
Johnson: 6-5
Parcells: 5-5
Phillips: 4-4
Switzer: 4-4
Campo: 1-6
Gailey: 0-4

Garrett is 3-5 in season finales. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

Tom Landry: 15-14
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Chan Gailey: 2-0
Jason Garrett: 3-5
Wade Phillips: 1-2
Barry Switzer: 1-3
Dave Campo: 0-3
Bill Parcells: 0-4

Garrett is currently 37-33 without Tony Romo under center.

Garrett is 19-14 on the road without Romo under center.

The Cowboys’ 98 penalties are tied with the Cardinals for the 11th-fewest in the NFL.

Dallas’ 98 penalties are tied for the 39th-fewest in club history through 15 games.

The Cowboys have a 45.7 red zone conversion rate, the third-lowest in the NFL. They are the only division winner to be in the bottom-10.

Garrett is 21/41 on challenges for his career with a 2/5 record in 2018.


Shurmur risks becoming the first Giants coach since Dan Reeves in 1993 to be swept by the Cowboys in his first year at the helm.

Against playoff-winning coaches, Shurmur is 6-19 with a 4-8 record at home.

Shurmur has a 12-21 record in early games with a 9-10 record at home.

Shurmur is 4-9 in December with a 2-3 record at home.

Shurmur is 2/7 at staving off a series sweep.

Shurmur is 1/3 in staving off a series sweep at home.

The Giants have 103 penalties on the season, tied for 14th-fewest in the NFL.

New York’s 103 penalties are tied for the ninth-most in franchise history since 1940 through the first 15 games of a season.

The Giants have a 49.0 red zone conversion rate, the fifth-lowest in the NFL.

Shurmur is 8/17 on challenges for his career with a 2/5 record in 2018.


Dallas is 133-122 all-time on FOX, including postseason.

The Giants are 144-128 all-time on FOX, including postseason.

This is the 39th early game in the series and the 14th to be broadcast by FOX.

Dallas is 24-18 when Kevin Burkhardt calls their games.

New York is 3-5 when Burkhardt calls their games.

The Cowboys are 5-1 when Charles Davis does color commentary for their games.

The Giants are 1-1 when Davis calls their games.

The Cowboys are 6-3 on FOX in 2018, meaning they will finish with a winning record on the network for the 14th time since 1994.


This week’s referee is Clay Martin. For the second consecutive week, the Cowboys will have a rookie referee.

Sunday will be Martin’s first NFC East game and his second division game of the season.

Martin is tied for the fifth-highest home team winning percentage in the NFL:

John Hussey: .857
Carl Cheffers: .786
Tony Corrente: .767
Walt Coleman: .667
Alex Kemp: .643
John Parry: .643
Craig Wrolstad: .643
Shawn Hochuli: .643
Brad Allen: .571
Jerome Boger: .571
Bill Vinovich: .571
Walt Anderson: .500
Pete Morelli: .500
Ron Torbert: .500
Shawn Smith: .393
Clete Blakeman: .357

Martin is tied for the third-lowest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties:

Craig Wrolstad: .857
Bill Vinovich: .643
Pete Morelli: .643
Tony Corrente: .600
John Hussey: .571
Walt Coleman: .533
Brad Allen: .500
Jerome Boger: .500
Shawn Hochuli: .500
Walt Anderson: .429
Clete Blakeman: .429
Shawn Smith: .429
Alex Kemp: .357
John Parry: .357
Carl Cheffers: .286
Ron Torbert: .286

The Giants have had Martin as a referee this season. New York beat the Chicago Bears 30-27 in overtime at MetLife Stadium, but had more penalties: 12/107 compared to 8/58.

Martin’s games have averaged the second-most sacks per game:

Cheffers: 6.3
Anderson: 5.6
Coleman: 5.6
Kemp: 5.5
Allen: 5.2
Hussey: 5.1
Smith: 5.1
Blakeman: 5.0
Hochuli: 5.0
Vinovich: 5.0
Torbert: 4.9
Wrolstad: 4.8
Morelli: 4.8
Corrente: 4.7
Parry: 4.0
Boger: 3.6

Martin is right in the middle in terms of offensive holding calls per game:

Hochuli: 4.7
Cheffers: 3.5
Anderson: 3.4
Torbert: 3.2
Wrolstad: 3.2
Boger: 2.9
Parry: 2.9
Kemp: 2.7
Blakeman: 2.6
Morelli: 2.5
Smith: 2.4
Corrente: 2.0
Allen: 2.0
Coleman: 1.9
Hussey: 1.6
Vinovich: 1.2

Martin is tied for the sixth-lowest coaches’ challenge overturn rate in the NFL:

Allen: .800 (4/5)
Anderson: .692 (9/13)
Cheffers: .571 (4/7)
Hussey: .556 (5/9)
Parry: .500 (4/8)
Morelli: .500 (1/2)
Vinovich: .444 (4/9)
Corrente: .417 (5/12)
Hochuli: .400 (2/5)
Blakeman: .400 (2/5)
Martin: .375 (3/8)
Torbert: .375 (3/8)
Coleman: .333 (3/9)
Wrolstad: .300 (3/10)
Boger: .200 (2/10)
Smith: .167 (1/6)
Kemp: .125 (1/8)

Martin is a high school basketball coach in Jenks, Okla.


The Cowboys defense gives up 3.7 yards per carry, tied with the New Orleans Saints for the second-fewest in the NFL.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley averages 4.9 yards per carry, tied with Todd Gurley for the 10th-highest in the NFL.

The Cowboys defense gives up 91.3 rushing yards per game, the fifth-fewest in the NFL.

Barkley averages 79.9 rushing yards per game, the fourth-most in the NFL.

Cowboys rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has the second-most solo tackles in the NFL with 99.

Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is tied with Jadeveon Clowney and Jason Pierre-Paul for the ninth-most tackles for loss in the NFL with 15.

Dallas cornerback Byron Jones is tied for the sixth-most pass breakups in the NFL with 14.

New York cornerback Janoris Jenkins is tied for the 11th-most pass breakups with 13.

Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree has the fifth-most interceptions in the NFL with five.

Opposing quarterbacks have compiled an 87.2 passer rating against the Giants defense, the ninth-lowest in the NFL.

The Cowboys defense gives up 5.3 yards per play, tied with the Tennessee Titans for the sixth-lowest in the NFL.

Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis has the most rushing yards by a defensive player with 12.

The Cowboys are 2-5 on Dec. 30. Here are the results:

1973 – MIN, 10-27 – L
1978 – ATL, 27-20 – W
1979 – RAM, 19-21 – L
1990 – @ATL, 7-26 – L
2001 – SF, 27-21 – W
2007 – @WAS, 6-27 – L
2012 – @WAS, 18-28 – L

The Giants are 4-2 on Dec. 30. Here are the results:

1956 – CHI, 47-7 – W
1962 – GB, 7-16 – L
1990 – @NE, 13-10 – W
2001 – @PHI, 21-24 – L
2006 – @WAS, 34-28 – W
2012 – PHI, 42-7 – W

The Cowboys have two birthdays to celebrate on Dec. 30:

1941 – Mel Renfro, CB, 1964-77
1978 – Keith Davis, S, 2002 & 2004-08