ARLINGTON, Texas – The New York Giants got a reality check in a loss to the Detroit Lions four days ago.
Now came the belly check.
Because despite all the optimism that surrounded Brian Daboll’s Giants in the first three months of the year, and deservedly so, given the franchise’s best start since 2008, they took the field inside AT&T Stadium for a Thanksgiving rally against the Dallas Cowboys. through a bundle of uncertainty.
Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. A short week of preparation suppresses the movement in its worst effects.
And it was a challenge against a Dallas team that was coming off its best showing in a while, putting up 40 points in an 8-game win over the Vikings en route to a blowout victory.
So what does this mean for the Giants? It was going to be a big task to get a triumph on Turkey Day, but it was an opportunity to test the fight. They did just that for the half, taking a 13-7 lead into the break before the Cowboys couldn’t hold on. They also lacked the firepower yet again to keep up on offense with Dallas, and a pair of Dak Prescott-to-Dalton Schultz touchdown connections proved too much in Thursday’s 28-20 overtime loss.
Watch: Cowboys hilarious whack-a-mole celebration after touchdown
FESTIVAL TRADITION: Why do the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys always play on Thanksgiving?
REMEMBER WHEN? Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson reflects on the Thanksgiving Day mistake
NFL Newsletter: Sign up now to get football news delivered to your inbox
In the waning moments, Daniel Jones threw a touchdown shot to Richie James to cap the scoring.
The Giants (7-4) have a better showing at this point than they did at home on Sunday against the Lions. They’re out of shape, especially at cornerback, without eventually starting with Adoree Jackson and Fabiano Moreau, rookie Cor’Dale Flott, Rodarius Williams and Nick McCloud to step in.
The Giants have now lost eleven of their last games to the Cowboys, including a regular season sweep this season.
While Dallas holds the lead over Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East, the Giants now have to fight off Washington, who they play in two of their next three games, to keep their chance legitimately alive.
The Giants needed to compete, and with urgency they can show some tricks that caught the Cowboys off guard. In the end, it was just a chance for the Giants to make turnovers and have their best players — Saquon Barkley, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams — make the switching plays they’ve done in key spots earlier this season.
The Giants caused turnovers, but only three points were scored by them. Barkley was held to 39 yards on 11 carries, the second consecutive subpar performance that calls into question what defenses are doing to slow down the Giants’ best offensive player, and why they have trouble keeping Barkley going.
Jones is now 1-5 as a starter against the Cowboys, including four losing games started by Dak Prescott. Prescott, meanwhile, is 10-2 in his career against the Giants, including losing 10 starts twice in his rookie season.
The biggest offensive play of the half happened on fourth and 1 near midfield when the Giants went for it. Jones pressed and fired a shot to an open Barkley, who dropped the catch and didn’t complete the play as the Giants turned the ball over.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Cowboys overwhelm Giants in NFC East title game on Thanksgiving Day