Good old fashioned NFC East Football

FRISCO, Texas— There are a lot of side factors that spice up this Monday night game at MetLife Stadium as Troy and Joe play their first Cowboys-Giants Monday Night Football game at their new gig.

Start with “Coop” starting his third NFL game in place of recovering Dak Prescott from hand surgery and saying his stitches are scheduled to be removed on Monday.

Then there’s the Giants under new head coach Brian Daboll, who started off 2-0, a first for the Giants since starting 2-0 in 2016 when they defeated the Cowboys and Saints.

But get this, unlike this season — which is eight of the last nine years going back to 2013 — the Giants started this season with an unreal 0-27 combined. Oh-and-twenty-seven en route to eight losing seasons under five different head coaches.

Just for fun, the Cowboys beat the Giants 14 of 18 times during that stretch, two of those four losses in 2016, Dak’s rookie season when the Cowboys lost just one more game. In fact, the Giants haven’t started a season 3-0 since 2009, when they won their first five games, but have only won three more in the rest of the year.

So this is a big deal for New York, the Giants looking to whip up an expected overflow crowd of nearly 74,000 with a seven-man Ring of Honor induction and look back on better days with Joe Morris, Ottis Anderson, Leonard Marshall and them honored in the house .

Now there are injuries other than Daks hovering over that procedure, the Cowboys are still unsure if Dalton Schultz (knee) is available at the tight end, and the Giants are worried about defensive tackle Leonard Williams (knee ), neither of whom have trained this week. And even though Cowboys “Lionbacker” Micah Parsons is battling a cold/allergy, come on, they’d have to put him in a cage to stop him going onto the field next to the Big Apple, where he’s being compared to Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

In fact, LT made sure Parsons will play in that game by saying this week, “I’m pretty sure Monday night I’ll see what he’s got because I’ll be there. I didn’t analyze it. But I’ll be there on Monday.”

Let’s not forget the potential return of Cowboys veteran receiver Michael Gallup for the first time since tearing his cruciate ligament in last year’s Game 16 after spending the last seven and a half months in rehabilitation while in his first full week of practice, on Sunday. training is the final deciding factor when he plays.

Oh, and then there’s that little extra spice that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threw on this one, saying Thursday, while discussing Cooper Rush would be filling in for Dak Prescott again before his return, “Okay , wouldn’t it be something if you had a dilemma about which way to go? They do that when (Rush) gets 10 wins. Same thing that happened with Prescott. I think so.

So, Jerry, you’d love a quarterback controversy, wouldn’t you?

“Of course I would,” says old Jer without hesitation. “Of course that means he won. If he comes in here and plays as well as Prescott (instead of Tony Romo in 2016), Rush has played so well in those next few games that I would go to New York and take that.”

Damn right he would. Could be a caravan of Cowboys fans right by his side. That would have meant the Cowboys would have won multiple games in Dak’s absence. fun times.

And for a little more gravy in this game, it’s an NFC East game and we know all about the emotion in these division games, these two teams want to play for the 120th time and the last thing the 1-1 Cowboys want is , only to fall two games behind the Giants in September, something the Giants would no longer love.

But when it comes to actually playing this game, breaking down offense and defense, Giants blitz schemes, the Cowboys young offensive line, the Giants fifth on offense but 31st on the pass and the Cowboys the defensive Snacks champions of 2021 and runners-up in sacks per game but dead last in third-down conversions, this one boils down to good old-fashioned head-banging football as played by Lee Roy Jordan and Andy Robustelli, Alex Webster and Don Perkins .

“It’s going to start with us running and stopping the run,” said Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, breaking this game down to its simplest terms.

In earnest. Five meters and a cloud of tire rubber pieces. For both. Brace yourself.

First of all let the football go. The Cowboys realize the easiest way to protect Rush is to make the Giants defense aware by starting back-to-back games for the first time since his college days in Central Michigan in 2016.

“We’re better off letting the ball go,” said veteran Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin.

“I think we definitely took a step forward,” said Ezekiel Elliott, who knew the Cowboys rushed for 107 yards against Cincinnati, a lot better than just the 71 against Tampa Bay. “I think we’ve established it.”

That’s exactly what will slow down the Giants’ pass rush, and the Cowboys know from new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s days in Baltimore just how much he loves to blitz, especially in third.

“They do a lot of different things in third place,” says Martin. “Lots of exotic stuff.”

Also, third down conversions were the Cowboys’ Achilles’ heel on offense, converting only six opportunities out of 25, a meager 24 percent, and worse, two out of eight if it was the third and at least six yards.

Conversely, it’s no secret that the Giants want to rule football. Running back Saquan Barkley leads the league with 236 rushing yards after two games, an impressive 6.1 yards per carry. Barkley, recovered, has already carried the ball 39 times and rushed for 164 yards in the opener against Tennessee in just 18 carries.

“It’s about being patient and staying in our gaps,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said of the Cowboys’ run defense.

Also, the Giants struggled to throw the ball and finished 31st in passing offense. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 188 yards and 176 in the first two games. So if the Cowboys want to unleash their powerful pass rush, their eight sacks in two games, second in the NFL per pass attempt, they need to team up against Barkley.

As for the defense’s two-game track record stopping the run, not so well in the opening game, Tampa Bay runs 152 yards, too many, and Cincinnati 89, much better and more similar.

“It really starts with Saquan,” says McCarthy.

So there you have it, maybe the key to defeating the Giants sounds pretty football-ish, a bit dated, right? But not that easy to execute if the Cowboys are looking to win a third game, which Rush has started in place of the injured Dak in the last 14 games and harkens back to Rush’s win over Minnesota last year.

Yeah, never mind all that other stuff – injuries, drama, records. Focus on Monday night’s run when the Cowboys can and the Giants can’t.

Sure, the cowboys will be if they know what’s good for them.

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