Giants Looking For Payback Against Dallas On Monday Night Football

The Cowboys have tormented the G-Men, but New York's a slight favorite to stop that
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Joy among New York Giants fans has been rare in recent seasons, but if the Jints defeat the rival Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, their fans will be able to float through this work week and dream of bigger things to come.

The Giants have a chance to start 3-0 for the first time since 2009 and alter the organizational drift that has meant losing seasons in eight of the last nine years. Not bad for a team that went 4-13 in 2021 and came into the season with the longest odds in the NFC East — at +800 — to win the division.

A victory under the lights in East Rutherford would keep the Giants tied with the Philadelphia Eagles atop the division, two games ahead of the Cowboys and Washington Commanders.

The sportsbooks aren’t exactly oozing respect thus far for the Giants, whose first two wins — over the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals (combined records of 2-4) — have come by a total of four points. At DraftKings, for example, the resurgent Eagles, flying high behind quarterback Jalen Hurts, currently are -330 favorites to win the NFC East. They are followed by the Cowboys at +550, the Giants at +650, and the Commanders at, well, +2800.

Giants started as underdogs

For Monday night’s game, the Giants were -1 in the morning at New York’s nine regulated sportsbooks with the exception of PointsBet, which offered -0.5. That’s somewhat interesting since the game opened at many places as Dallas -3. As we have seen so many times in the past, New York sports betting volume itself may be able to move lines. The over/under total is 39 points at some places (like BetMGM) and 39.5 at others (like FanDuel).

The Cowboys have dominated the Giants in recent seasons, winning nine of the past 10 meetings. However, many NFL observers left the Cowboys for dead when quarterback Dak Prescott broke his thumb in the season opener. The Cowboys designed a conservative game plan for backup Cooper Rush and relied on their defense to beat the Bengals a week ago. Rush will get at least one more start, with the Cowboys hinting that Prescott could return as soon as Week 4 at home against the Commanders.

The Giants seem to be benefiting from pairing quarterback Daniel Jones with a head coach, Brian Daboll, who has history as an offensive innovator. Jones so far has a 70.9% completion rate, a big jump from his 63.1% career mark, and has thrown three touchdown passes with just one interception.

The Giants apparently want to build their identity, however, around Saquon Barkley and their improved offensive line powered by rookie right tackle Evan Neal. Before Sunday’s games, Barkley led the NFL with 236 rushing yards and was fifth with 282 yards from scrimmage.

Matchup to watch

For the Giants to continue their offensive improvement, they’ll need to contend with one of the best speed rushers in the game in Micah Parsons, last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year who already has four sacks in two games. Parsons has a chance to join Kevin Greene and Mark Gastineau as the only players to start a season with three multi-sack games. The Dallas defense in general is stout, having limited Tom Brady and Joe Burrow to a touchdown pass apiece in its first two games.

It really could come down to how well Neal and left tackle Andrew Thomas, who has graded out better than any player at his position so far, handle Parsons’ exceptional speed and aggressiveness.

Cowboys offense far from explosive

It’s easy to see why the point total has been set so low in this game, considering Dallas has already announced Rush as its starter and has question marks on the offensive line aside from star guard Zack Martin.

The Giants could have really used veteran defensive tackle Leonard Williams, but he is listed as out for this one. Instead, they’ll rely on pressuring Rush with young edge rushers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 overall pick who will make his NFL debut after missing two games with a sprained knee.

The Cowboys have other headaches on offense, including trying to ease receiver Michael Gallup back into action after he tore a knee ligament at the end of last season and seeing if tight end Dalton Schultz (questionable) will even suit up.

Rush might not have many weapons for this one and it might be hard for Dallas to script a second straight week of carefully managed offense to eke out a win. Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale no doubt will have some wrinkles to throw at Rush to try to force a key mistake.

The upshot

For one of the few times in the past few years, the Giants seem situated to hand it to their tormenter. They’ve got the healthier team, a more innovative coaching staff, and a chip on their shoulders. Expect an ugly game, but this is an opportunity the Giants can’t let get past them if they want to be taken seriously as a playoff contender.

Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY

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