NEW YORK (PIX11) — On Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will rekindle their NFC East rivalry. This game may show whether the times are changing.
New York won four games last year and is halfway to that total after knocking off Tennessee and Carolina in Brian Daboll’s first two games as coach. Beating Dallas in a nationally televised game would be another step toward respectability after five straight losing seasons.
“This is a divisional opponent and the quickest way to get into the postseason is to win divisional games,” said receiver Sterling Shepard, the Giants’ current longest-tenured player. “They are always huge games no matter what start you have.”
Saquon Barkley leads the NFL in rushing (236 yards) and is second to Miami’s Tyreek Hill in yards from scrimmage (282). He also has caught nine passes for 46 yards. This is the healthiest he has been since his rookie season in 2018.
The combination of a healthy Saquon Barkley and an improved offensive line has been the constant in the Giants’ offense.
The one problem for the line has been pass protection. Daniel Jones has been sacked eight times, losing one fumble on one of those. However, he has done a good job of protecting the ball, throwing one interception while hitting 71% of his passes for three TDs.
The Giants’ offensive line against Parsons and the Cowboys’ defense. New York has run the ball effectively, gaining an average of 120.5 yards, while Dallas is yielding an average of 119.5. Pass protection is another issue. Daniel Jones has been sacked eight times. Parsons leads the league with four sacks and Dallas has eight.
Giants top DL Leonard Williams hurt a knee last week. Starting CB Aaron Robinson missed last week after having his appendix removed and is iffy again. Starting OLs Azeez Ojulari (calf) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) have missed the first two games but are getting closer.
The Cowboys have won 9 of 10 against the Giants. Backup QB Cooper Rush is facing an NFC East opponent for the first time in his third career start over two seasons, subbing for an injured Dak Prescott.
By the numbers
DALLAS (1-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (2-0)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT, ESPN
OPENING LINE: Giants by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Dallas 1-1, New York 2-0.
SERIES RECORD: Cowboys lead 71-47-2.
LAST MEETING: Cowboys beat Giants 21-6 on Dec. 19 at the Metlife Stadium.
LAST WEEK: Cowboys beat Bengals 20-17; Giants beat Panthers 19-16.
GIANTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (t20), RUSH (5), PASS (31), SCORING (t-15).
GIANTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (18), PASS (10), SCORING (t-9).
COWBOYS OFFENSE: OVERALL (25), RUSH (22), PASS (21), SCORING (31).
COWBOYS DEFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (19), PASS (6), SCORING (t-9).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Cowboys minus-1; Giants plus-1.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.