Exhale, Cowboy Nation. The Cowboys entered the winning slot for the first time this season with a thrilling 20-17 victory in the Brett Maher vs Micah Parsons match. Throw in strong performances from the likes of Cooper Rush and Noah Brown, and things will suddenly feel better than they did a week ago.
Now here comes the giants. New York seems to be turning the page under new coach Brian Dabol and healthy Saquon Barkley after starting the season 2-0 with a pair of thrilling victories over the Titans and Leopards.
The two-story rivals in Week Three Monday night football will now be linked with plenty to prove, so here are five story lines for each team before their meeting at MetLife Stadium.
- Reinforcements could be on the way to the Cowboys for the third week. Executive Vice President and Personnel Director Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Monday that both Michael Gallup and Jason Peters can see time against the Giants. While Noah Brown and Sidi Lamb have had very strong matches against the Bengals, Tyler Smith and Terrence Steele have also found their rhythm, the much needed depth in reception points and offensive line can be formidable moving forward.
- It remains to be seen if Dalton Schultz will be ready to play against the Giants after sustaining a right knee injury against the Bengals. While he’s currently listed as day in and day out, the missing Schultz, who has nine catches for 80 yards this season, will force the Cowboys to go deeper into their smaller depth with Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot.
- Let’s talk about that defense, shall we? Looks like Micah Parsons has balanced out better Since his brilliant rookie season by leading the NFL with four sacks in two weeks this season. Not to mention that Parsons tied first in the TFLs, QB pressures, and quarterback hits. While the Giants’ offensive streak has improved this season, they will not only have Parsons to contend with, but Dorance Armstrong who had two bags in Week Two as well.
- After breaking away from a running game in Week 1 against the Bucs, the Cowboys returned to it in Week 2 against the Bengals and were able to engage Tony Pollard as well. Between Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott, this duo rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown that helped Cooper Rush and the receivers find more favorable matches. For some context, Elliott did damage against the Giants in 10 career games averaging nearly 83 yards per game. Pollard also had a 46-yard pass which was inches from being a running play but officially ruled as a receptionist.
- The Cowboys have fought their way with their rivals in the Giants over the course of their last several matches. In fact, the Cowboys have won nine of the last 10 confrontations between the two teams, with the Giants last winning at home in 2021, defeating reserve Andy Dalton. Dallas leads the series all-time at 71-47-2.
- It would be safe to say that Daniel Jones didn’t always play his best quarterback against the Cowboys during his time in New York. In five career starts, Jones has a 1-4 against Dallas with a pass rating of 82.4 with three touchdowns, five fumbles and two picks. The Cowboys defense had a hit keeping Tom Brady and Joe Burrow in check to start the season, including four sacks at Burrow. For reference, the Cowboys have fired Jones nine times in those five games.
- After losing time last season due to injury, Saquon Barkley returned in 2022 with revenge within his first two games. He rushed for 164 yards against the Titans in week one and another 72 yards in week two against the Panthers, but he averaged just over 57 yards against the Cowboys in six games.
- The Giants have been rebuilding their offensive streak over the past several years and they seem to be starting to see the fruits of their labor paying off. Left-handed Andrew Thomas was ranked the highest-grossing Pro Football Focus attacking linebacker in the league after Week Two at 89.1 overall. New York allowed only four sacks per season, and it should be an interesting match for Micah Parsons & Company.
- New York was tasked with two tough opposing appearances to open the season in Derek Henry and Christian McCaffrey, both of whom had a fair amount of success. Henry hit 82 yards in 21 carts in his first week, while McCaffrey had 102 yards in 15 touches. Look for the Cowboys to try to find the same level of success with their stable backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
- Much like the Cowboys who relied on their kickers to claim victory for them, the Giants turned to Graham Gano to claim their second week win with a 56-yard field goal. Gano, the former Tiger, has been a firefighter for the Giants this season by crashing all four field goal attempts this season so far, two of which have come from 50 yards or more. Veteran kickers battle could be a deciding factor in Monday’s game.