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Big Picture: 5 Storylines For Cowboys & Giants


The Cowboys are coming off a needed bye week and should be close to full strength when they take on the Giants Monday night. While they did square off in Week 1, things have changed dramatically for New York, which has now moved on to rookie Daniel Jones at quarterback.

Here are five quick storylines for each team to get us ready for the matchup.

New York Giants

  • The Giants added some beef on their defensive line by trading for Leonard Williams, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Williams doesn't even have to move, only switching locker rooms at MetLife Stadium as he comes over from the Jets. He has already faced the Cowboys once this year and was a big factor in the Jets' lone victory of the season. Williams should help a Giants' defense that ranks 28th overall, allowing 386.8 yards per game.
  • While the Giants added a player before the trade deadline, they decided not to part ways with some other veterans that were rumored to be on the block. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, tackle Nate Solder and linebacker Alec Ogeltree all stayed put, suggesting the Giants aren't throwing in the towel on this year just yet, despite their 2-6 record.
  • There is one major difference from the Giants team the Cowboys saw back in Week 1. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has now replaced Eli Manning, and the Giants look like a new team, at least on offense. This will be the first time the Cowboys have played the Giants against a quarterback other than Manning since the first meeting of the 2004 season.
  • This could be the first time in 2019 that the Giants have their full slate of receivers. That will depend on the health of Sterling Shepard, who has been out the last three games with a concussion. Shepard was still in the concussion protocol as of Wednesday but is expected to be cleared to practice and possibly play on Monday night. He did face the Cowboys in Week 1, but the Giants were without veteran Golden Tate, who served a four-game suspension to start the season.
  • The best player on the Giants' offense is, of course, Saquon Barkley, and the Cowboys saw firsthand how good he can be back in Week 1. Barkley rushed for 120 yards on just 11 carries. Here's an interesting note on Barkley: He's the third player since 1994 to have more than one rush of 50 yards or more. And he's done it in each of the last two meetings, including a 59-yard run in Week 1 that led to a touchdown. He seems fully healthy from the ankle injury that sidelined him for three weeks. Last Sunday against the Lions, Barkley had 143 all-purpose yards with a touchdown against Detroit.

Dallas Cowboys

  • The Cowboys have tried to add a frontline player to the safety position for nearly two years and reportedly came close yet again on Tuesday. The NFL trade deadline passed, and although the Cowboys and Jets apparently had serious talks about moving Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, he was not dealt to Dallas or any team. The Jets evidently wanted more compensation than the Cowboys were willing to give. That leaves Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods as the team's starting safeties again this week against the Giants.
  • Now, the Cowboys didn't strike out completely in terms of making trades this week. The team added veteran pass-rusher Michael Bennett in a deal with the Patriots. Bennett has 65.5 career sacks, including 2.5 this year with New England. He should give the Cowboys the position flex they lost with Tyrone Crawford (hip surgery) going on injured reserve last week.
  • The bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Cowboys, who limped their way to a win over the Eagles despite having key injuries to stars such as Tyron Smith, La'el Collins and Amari Cooper. All of those guys, plus a handful of others who fought through injuries, should be at or close to 100 percent for Monday's game with the Giants.
  • If there are some lingering injuries, they would be to backup and role players. Cornerback Anthony Brown (hamstring) is working back into practice and offensive tackle Cam Fleming (calf) could be limited this week.
  • With the Eagles winning last week at Buffalo to get to 4-4, the Cowboys need to win Monday night to remain in first place in the division. A win against the Giants would improve them to 4-0 in the NFC East, forcing the Eagles to win their remaining division games to have a better record – if that becomes a factor depending on possible tiebreaker scenarios.