The NFC East hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire this year as none of its four teams have really pulled away. That said, despite only having two wins, the New York Giants are far from out of the conversation.
They will have a chance to pull within one victory of the Dallas Cowboys, who entered Sunday as the NFC East leaders (and two within the Philadelphia Eagles who were victorious on Sunday), when the two teams meet for the second time this season today (8:15 PM ET Monday).
The first time these two NFC East rivals met was the first week of the season and things were certainly in favor of the Cowboys. At home, Dallas dominated. After the two teams entered the second quarter tied, the Cowboys proceeded to outscore the Giants 14-0 in that 15-minute frame, as well as 28-3 in the second and third quarters combined.
Dak Prescott threw for 405 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating and Ezekiel Elliott added another score on the ground. It was a blowout in Big D, something the Giants won’t want to see repeated this time around when they host the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. The Cowboys won’t want to see a repeat of their own last trip to MetLife Stadium, which ended in a shocking 24-22 loss against the then-winless New York Jets.
Can Daniel Jones be a Game Changer?
When the Giants and Cowboys last met, Dak Prescott faced off against Eli Manning. It wasn’t a bad outing by the two-time Super Bowl MVP, but the Giants had already been starting to prep their future quarterback in the form of Daniel Jones. After another lackluster performance by Manning in the second week of the season, the decision was made to hand over the reins to Jones. Overall, the rookie has done a pretty decent job. Jones pulled off a great drive to help New York to their first win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and another win the following week over the Washington Redskins.
Then, as New York hit the meat of their schedule, the Giants, and by extension, Jones, struggled. The rookie threw five interceptions and just three touchdowns in his next three starts. Jones was even sacked eight times in New York’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals finishing the game with just a 27.4 QB rating. Last week, against the Detroit Lions however, the rookie bounced back in a big way. It was the best game of his career. Jones threw four touchdowns, no interceptions, and 322 yards. It is that kind of start that should have the Giants optimistic about their chances.
The question still remains: Can Daniel Jones be a game changer in the way that Eli Manning was at various points in his career? If he can be, and if the Giants can add another dimension to their run-heavy offense, this team is poised to find success in the NFC East in the future. Speaking of that run-heavy offense, it’s time for round two of Saquon Barkley vs Ezekiel Elliott.
Saquon Barkley vs Ezekiel Elliott
While the NFC East has not been a good division overall this year, one of its bright spots has been the running backs. All four teams are led by strong rushing units, especially the Cowboys and Giants who have two of the best rushers in the NFL.
Both Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott are phenomenal in the backfield, despite dealing with some issues this year. For Elliott, it was an offseason holdout that resulted in a slow start. For Barkley, it was an injury that cost him several weeks. Barkley opened his season with two straight 100+ yard games including a 120-yard performance against the Cowboys. That gave the sophomore running back two out of three career games against Dallas in which he has topped 100 yards.
Since coming back from his injury however, Barkley has still been working his way back into form. In his last two starts, Barkley has rushed for just under 150 total yards. This is compared to almost 230 from his first two starts. Elliott has turned a corner and is coming off of back-to-back 100+ rushing games against the Jets and Eagles.
In his career, Elliott, who was drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, has rushed for 4,650 yards and 30 touchdowns. He has been one of the best at his position since then and the Cowboys have no doubt reaped the benefits. Barkley’s sample size is about half of Elliott’s but just as successful. In 21 games, Barkley, picked second overall in the 2018 draft, has a combined total of 2,562 yards and 18 touchdowns. It is clear that both of these young backs are difference-makers.
On Monday, both will be important as they have been throughout this rivalry, but it may not matter. In week one, Barkley outrushed Elliott 120 yards to 63, but it was Dallas who got the win. The Cowboys have a more balanced offense and are ranked top-10 in the league in defense. That’s something the Giants can’t compete with and something Barkley alone won’t be able to overcome.
Our Betting Preview’s Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants Predictions & Picks Verdict
Coming off their bye week, the Cowboys had to sit and watch as their divisional lead was taken away by the Eagles, who defeated the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon. Dallas will look to keep pace when they take on the Giants, a team they should somewhat easily defeat.
The Cowboys are favored by seven points despite being the road team. Overall, Dallas is the better team but the Giants have a lot of positives to focus on. A lot of what happens on Monday will depend on how Jones performs in his first career game against the Cowboys. He will certainly have the crowd behind him which will help. He is coming off a great game that should help provide needed confidence. These are the Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants predictions against the USA sports betting sites for this preview: