Sit Zeke The First Week.
That’s the rallying cry of Giants Nation for opening night Sept. 10 at Jerry World in Arlington.
Ben McAdoo, Steve Spagnuolo, Landon Collins and Jason Pierre-Paul have not yet been spotted in front of Roger Goodell’s office at 345 Park Avenue imploring him to suspend Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for what will be a tone-setting game the first Sunday night of season.
Elliott is already trying to fight off a potential one or two-game suspension resulting from the NFL’s endless investigation after he was accused in July of last year of assault by his ex-girlfriend. Elliott denied the accusations, was not arrested, was not charged and claimed he has text messages to prove he was set up.
ESPN reported last week that the league has sent Elliott the reports of its finding and he is preparing a response. The report said there was a “growing sense” that Elliott will face discipline for violating the personal conduct policy and he is “bracing” for a short suspension, but the NFL has not made its final determination.
Then came word Monday morning that Elliott was reportedly involved in an altercation with a bouncer at Clutch Bar and Restaurant in Dallas on Sunday night. No arrests were made. Elliott also was in the news in March when he pulled down a woman’s shirt to expose her breast during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas.
He’s a great player. He won’t be 22 years old until Friday. Regarding the most recent incidents, he better grow up quickly if he plans to stick around the NFL.
At the Cowboys’ mini-camp last month, Elliott talked about keeping his distance from bad situations.
“Just trying to learn to stay out of the way,” he said. “Whatever you do is going to be seen.”
Put this all together and it could be very bad news for the Cowboys and very good news for the Giants.
Elliott led the NFL as a rookie in 2016 with 1,631 yards and was named first-team All-Pro. He teamed with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott to lead Dallas to a 13-3 record. Two of the losses came against the Giants.
The Giants will open the season at Jerry World for the third year in a row and the fourth time in the last five years. Dallas and the Giants figure to fight it out for the NFC East title this season and if the Cowboys are without Elliott for the first game, it obviously helps the Giants.
That’s why it’s a useless exercise when the schedule comes out in late April to go week-to-week to try to figure out a team’s record. Too many things can happen by the first game and especially later in the season — injuries, suspensions, locker room chemistry — that can transform what looks like a game that will be tough to win into a very winnable game.
Whether or not Elliott is suspended, the Giants know how to win in AT&T Stadium. They beat the Cowboys 20-19 in Texas on opening day last season and Dallas then ripped off 11 straight victories until the Giants beat them again 10-7 at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants held Elliott to just 51 yards on 21 carries with a long run of eight yards in the first game, and although he rushed for 107 yards in the second game, he needed 24 carries to do it and had a long run of just 15 yards. The Cowboys have capable backups in Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, who have each rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, but the Giants would be very happy to face either one of them instead of Elliott.
After the Sunday night opener, the Giants’ first home game is on Monday night, Sept. 18, against Detroit, another playoff team last year. Then they go to Philly. That’s not an easy opening three-game stretch. So the Giants will not complain if they catch a break by not having to face Zeke the first week.
Big Blue also has four long road trips this season: At Denver, San Francisco, Oakland and Arizona. None of them are back-to-back, spoiling McAdoo’s plan to keep the Giants on the West Coast between games.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been confident all along Elliott will not be suspended. But the fact this investigation has taken so long could be a bad sign for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys face the Broncos in Denver the second week of the season. Dallas could start 0-2 without its best player. But remember, Emmitt Smith held out the first two games of the 1993 season, the Cowboys lost them both, then went on to win their second consecutive Super Bowl.
This could be a very big season for the Giants. Facing the Cowboys without Elliott would help them get off to a nice start.
Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/potential-ezekiel-elliott-ban-good-news-giants-article-1.3332739