Our week 3 Monday night football matchup between the Cowboys and Giants is really going to set the mood for the NFC East in my opinion. The clear and obvious favorite to win the division as it plays out is Philadelphia, and rightfully so, but if the Dak-less Cowboys can march into MetLife Stadium and come away with a victory as a 2.5-point dog, this division will get a lot more interesting as the year plays out. It feels gross to me that the game I'm most interested in this week, other than my Pittsburgh Steelers of course, is a Daniel Jones vs. Cooper Rush showdown under the lights. Before Cowboys fans jump me on socials and drag me for not being particularly excited about Cooper Rush despite his performance these past one and a half games, you should know he's a backup for a reason. I get strong Case Keenum vibes from Rush and that's great news for Cowboys fans! It might even be good enough to keep you relevant until Dak comes back, but why on earth do I see so many Cowboys fans trashing Dak for a bad week one performance? He looked bad, I understand, but to say that Cooper Rush is a better option than Dak at this point and deserves the job is so incredibly disrespectful to Dak's talent level. I don't care if Cooper Rush wins every single game until Dak is healthy, it still doesn't make sense. There's a different conversation to be had if Dak comes back and struggles like he did week one. If the playoffs look attainable and Dak keeps losing games and playing bad ball, give Rush the nod, sure, but let's pump the breaks on the "Dak needs to go" rhetoric. It was one game for crying out loud. If we want to be realistic about things, Jerry Jones is holding this team hostage, but Cowboys fans already know that, and that's a conversation for another day.
Now, with all of that being said, none of that actually matters this week. Dallas is a 2.5-point underdog which is a testament to how bad this Dallas offense is projected to be this week but there's probably just a little bit too much hype surrounding the Giants 2-0 start. It's a new regime, and Giants fans are excited. Above all, Saquon looks to be all the way back, contributing on the ground and through the air, but let's not overthink this. Sterling Shepard is a true number two receiver, Kadarius Toney is an incredibly talented athlete who's played 26% of snaps and turned it into 2 catches for 3 yards and he is still battling a hamstring injury that often lingers. Kenny Golladay is basically a non-factor playing 3% of snaps last week before getting benched, David Sills has turned 94 snaps into a total of 3 catches for 37 yards and unless Richie James is becoming the next incredible superstar no one saw coming overnight, I believe it's going to be a terribly long game for the Giants. I'm not saying their 2-0 start was a fluke, I do believe the Giants are a better football team than the Titans and Panthers. I really like what Brian Daboll is doing up there in New York with the culture, he's doing a fine job, but this is not going to be a walk in the park for Coach Daboll this season- especially this week in his first prime time game against a division rival who by the way happens to have a very good defense. Every new coach takes their lumps and this could likely be Daboll's week to do so. Saquon Barkley will have to have one of those career high monster performances for the Giants to pull this off, which I do believe is possible, but this Dallas defense is no joke. Either Saquon is lights out or Dallas just doesn't show up to play, which is always a very possible circumstance. If Dallas plays to their potential, then this Giants team is going to have their hands full. However, it is a divisional game and crazier things have happened. My thought is that Cooper Rush doesn't have to even play that well; he just can't turn the ball over. He's shown the ability to step up and be a reliable backup quarterback to this point, so I don't have many concerns in that aspect. Give the ball to Zeke and Pollard and let them cook. There's always a chance that the Giants pull this off though, they're the favorite for a reason, and maybe I am way too high on Dallas this week on the road and too low on the Giants offense, but that's why they play the game. In no way shape or form am I an expert and I never claimed to be, but as an avid sports fan my entire life and as somebody who watches football with passion, I'll say this... I'm often criticized for being too brash when making judgements about the Cowboys, but I always feel like I'm fair whether it's what people want to hear or not. For the people of Dallas who I often accidentally offend, and to the New York Giants fans and team that I actually find myself rooting for often, I am regretfully predicting a Dallas Cowboys victory Monday night. The score won't necessarily reflect upon the tale of the tape, as the final score may be closer than the beatdown that's laid upon the Giants. Nevertheless, the Dallas Cowboys take care of business 27-20 with possibly even a defensive score. It still is early in the week and we are still waiting to hear injury designations as to whether or not Thibodeaux and Ojulari will be active. I do think that will have an impact on the game as both players make a giant difference on that frontline (definitely pun intended). They may cause some problems for Dallas, the score may be closer and there might not be as many points on the board, but I do not believe that it changes the outcome; at least not his week. So this one is for you Cowboys Nation, you got me this week.
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Photo credit: original (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) via https://www.dmagazine.com/sports/2021/12/making-the-case-that-micah-parsons-is-a-generational-talent/
Photo Credit: original (Evan Pinkus- New York Football Giants) via https://www.giants.com/photos/photos-rb-saquon-barkley-x8696
Stats gathered from www.lineups.com