How the Giants will benefit most

From ESPN - August 12, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Six games without running back Ezekiel Elliott will hurt the Dallas Cowboys. It also will help the New York Giants, in more ways than one.

Elliott was suspended six games for violating the NFL's conduct policy, the league announced Friday. The ban came after an investigation that started more than a year ago when an ex-girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio.

If the suspension holds, Elliott will miss 38 percent of the regular season. That's a significant chunk of the 16-game slate, and it could greatly affect how things play out in the NFC East.

"Zeke is definitely one of the best running backs in the league. Any time you lose somebody like that, it's tough to replace," Giants cornerback Eli Apple said. "But I know they have other guys and definitely have a great team, so we are not going to look at that and lighten up."

The Giants are the only NFC East team to play the Cowboys in the first six weeks of the season. The Washington Redskins' first matchup with Dallas is in Week 8, and the Philadelphia Eagles' is in Week 11. They wo not miss a meeting with Elliott.

The Giants appear to be the biggest beneficiary the way this seems ready to unfold. Say what you want about the dominant Cowboys offensive line and Elliott's potential replacements (Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Ronnie Hillman), their running game takes a major hit without the NFL's leading rusher last season. Elliott averaged 108.7 yards per game rushing as a rookie; McFadden led the Cowboys with 68.1 yards per game the previous season behind a similar offensive line.

It's an unintended consequence of the suspension, but Elliott's absence helps the Giants' chances in Week 1 and throughout the season. Even though Elliott struggled in the 2016 opener against the Giants' defense (it also happened to double as his NFL debut), the Pro Bowl back ran for more than 100 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry in the second meeting.

The Giants do not seem to mind that Elliott wo not be available. Not that they have a voice in the decision.


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