Daniel Jones
Syndication: The Record

Another week, another win for the Giants, who are shockingly 2-0 to start what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. And in Week 3, they will have their first NFC East test of the new season.

The Cowboys, sans quarterback Dak Prescott, are coming into MetLife Stadium for a Monday Night Football matchup. Prescott hasn’t played since Week 1 due to a thumb injury and might not return until around Weeks 4-5. Former undrafted quarterback Cooper Rush has been leading the offense in the interim.

While Rush is no Prescott, he still threw for 235 yards and a touchdown in the victory over the Bengals last Sunday. And it’s not like the Giants field an incredibly strong defense either. The unit has impressed thus far but has only faced Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill and Carolina’s Baker Mayfield, two of the NFL’s more inconsistent quarterbacks. Plus, defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee) and cornerback Aaron Robinson (appendicitis) aren’t expected to play against Dallas.

If there’s a game for quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants offense to come alive and take pressure off the shorthanded defense, it’s this one. However, Jones has thrown for only 364 total yards through two games, so a huge performance from the fourth-year passer is anything but certain.

Giants vs. Cowboys

When: Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET.
Radio: WFAN 101.9 FM.

Giants’ keys to victory

Martindale’s blitzes. Time for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to pressure the opposing quarterback from the jump. Outside linebackers Azeez Ojulari and rookie No. 5 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux should play after missing the first two games. Expect the Giants to properly utilize their expanded group of pass-rushing weapons.

Robinson’s replacement. Aaron Robinson isn’t expected to play for a second straight game after the cornerback had his appendix removed last Wednesday. Expect rookie Cor’Dale Flott to slot in again, and he’ll have a daunting task as an inexperienced defensive back going against the likes of Cowboys receivers CeeDee Lamb and possibly Michael Gallup. A great performance from Flott (and another strong outing from corner Adoree’ Jackson) would allow this pass rush to produce on the front end.

Step forward for O-line. The Giants offensive line hasn’t been fantastic through two weeks despite a great start from left tackle Andrew Thomas. But the unit will have a major task going against linebacker Micah Parsons and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence Monday night. The interior (especially center Jon Feliciano) and rookie right tackle Evan Neal must take a step forward so the offense can develop some sort of rhythm.


So what will Kenny Golladay’s role be? The $72 million wide receiver played only two snaps in last Sunday’s win over the Panthers, he’s not a great fit in Brian Daboll’s offense, and it doesn’t seem the veteran wants to be here. On Wednesday, Golladay didn’t shut down the possibility of an East Rutherford exit.

The Giants can’t trade or release him right now due to the disastrous structure of his contract, which has his 2022 dead cap charge set at $35.6 million. They must wait until the offseason to release him as a post-June 1 cut to save $13.5 million in cap space.

So they’re stuck with him. But how much Golladay plays Monday and in weeks thereafter will be something to keep tabs on. Maybe he’s a healthy scratch at some point in the regular season if this relationship doesn’t improve.

Did you know?

This is Saquon Barkley’s fifth year with the Giants, and he’s never beaten the Cowboys.

That’s right — since his 2018 drafting, Barkley has been healthy for six games against Dallas and the Giants have lost each one. He missed both meetings with the NFC East rival during the 2020 season when he tore his ACL in Week 2.

Barkley has had a so-so career against the Cowboys. While he’s averaged 4.9 yards per carry in the six games, he’s scored only one total touchdown.

The pick

Don’t expect a high-scoring Monday night battle. On one sideline, Rush is manning the Cowboys offense in the absence of the injured Prescott. On the other sideline, you have a struggling Daniel Jones and question marks across the board at wide receiver.

The game will come down to which defensive unit is more prepared. And right now, I trust this Cowboys defense with Parsons, Lawrence, and cornerback Trevon Diggs.

While the Giants defense has impressed, their only two performances were against Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield. The unit still needs to prove itself on a consistent basis and might be missing two starters Monday night in Leonard Williams and Aaron Robinson. Cowboys 17, Giants 13.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.