Before the season started, most Dallas Cowboys fans chalked up the Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants as an easy victory.
But after two games, the Giants are undefeated and appear to be a better team than any analyst could’ve predicted.
Last season, Dallas won both games against New York by an average of 19 points. But this year’s Giants team is a lot different than in 2021.
The Giants have a new head coach in Brian Daboll, who served as the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator for four seasons before joining New York. Saquon Barkley also looks like his old self after two down seasons.
Here’s what to watch for in the clash between bitter NFC East rivals:
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
- Kickoff time: Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:15 p.m.
- How to watch: ESPN/ABC
- How to stream: Watch ESPN
- Spread: Cowboys +1
- Over/under total: 39
Can the offense show more consistency?
The Cowboys’ offense was on fire in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals. In Dallas’ opening drive of the game, Cooper Rush led the offense down the field on a 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown.
The Cowboys second drive of the game also went for 75 yards and a score. It was highlighted by a 47-yard catch and run from Tony Pollard that made it first and goal from the one yard line.
Brett Maher also hit a 54-yard field goal to give the Cowboys 17 points in the opening quarter. Things were looking great early on.
Then, the Cowboys were held scoreless until Maher hit the game-winning field goal as time expired.
Dallas’ offense needs to be more consistent throughout the game if they want to leave MetLife Stadium with a victory. The offense showed it was capable of moving the ball in the first quarter of Week 2, it just needs to replicate that success for a full 60 minutes.
Can the defense limit Saquon Barkley?
Before the season started, Barkley commented that this season would be his revenge tour after having less than stellar performances in 2020 and 2021. But like Geno Smith said, people may have written off Barkley, but he didn’t write back.
The fifth-year back is second in the NFL this season with 236 rushing yards. Barkley trails only Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb who has an extra game played over Barkley because Cleveland played its Week 3 matchup last night.
Dallas has been average at stopping the run this season, allowing 120 yards per game which ranks 18th in the NFL. Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 127 yards in Week 1, and Bengals running back Joe Mixon had just 57 yards in Week 2.
The Cowboys defense will need to replicate its performance against Cincinnati if they hope to notch a win on Monday night.
Can Micah Parsons continue dominating?
The Giants’ offensive is extremely reliant on Barkley. While Barkley is an NFL leader in rushing yards, QB Daniel Jones ranks 29th with 364 passing yards on the season.
New York’s offensive line also hasn’t had a stellar season in pass protection. Jones has been sacked eight times which is tied for third-most in the NFL.
This seems like the perfect storm for Micah Parsons to wreak havoc on Jones and continue his Defensive Player of the Year campaign. But it all starts with the defensive line holding Barkley in check.