Exhale, Cowboys Nation. The Cowboys got into the win column for the first time this season with a thrilling 20-17 victory on the leg of Brett Maher and Micah Parsons' two-sack game. Toss in the strong performances from the likes of Cooper Rush and Noah Brown, and things suddenly feel better than a week ago.
Now here come the Giants. New York appears to be turning the page under new head coach Brian Daboll and a healthy Saquon Barkley after starting the season 2-0 with a pair of nail-biting wins over the Titans and Panthers.
The two storied rivals will now link up in Week 3 for Monday Night Football with plenty to prove, so here are five storylines for each squad ahead of their meeting at MetLife Stadium.
- Reinforcements could be on the way for the Cowboys for Week 3. Executive VP and director of player personnel Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan Monday that both Michael Gallup and Jason Peters could see time against the Giants. While Noah Brown and CeeDee Lamb each had very strong games against the Bengals, and Tyler Smith and Terence Steele each find their rhythm as well, the much-needed depth at the receiver and offensive line spots could be huge moving forward.
- It remains to be seen if tight end Dalton Schultz will be ready to play against the Giants following his right knee injury suffered against the Bengals. While he is currently listed as day-to-day, missing Schultz, who has nine catches for 80 yards this season, would force the Cowboys to dig deeper into their younger depth with Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot.
- Let's talk about this defense, shall we? Micah Parsons looks like he's gotten even better since his magnificent rookie season by leading the NFL with four sacks through two weeks this season. Not to mention, Parsons is tied for first in TFLs, QB pressures, and quarterback hits. While the Giants' offensive line has improved this season, they will not only have Parsons to deal with, but Dorance Armstrong who had two sacks in Week 2 as well.
- After moving away from the running game in Week 1 against the Bucs, the Cowboys came back around to it in Week 2 against the Bengals and managed to get Tony Pollard involved as well. Between Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot, that duo rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown that helped Cooper Rush and the receivers find more favorable matchups. For some context, Elliot has done damage against the Giants in 10 career games with an average of almost 83 yards per game. Pollard also had a 46-yard pass that was inches away from being a running play but officially ruled as a reception.
- The Cowboys have had their way with their rivals in the Giants over the course of their last several matchups. In fact, the Cowboys have won nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams, with the Giants last win coming at home in 2021, beating backup Andy Dalton. Dallas leads the all-time series at 71-47-2.
- It would be safe to say that Daniel Jones has not always played his best football from the quarterback position against the Cowboys during his tenure in New York. In five career starts, Jones is 1-4 against Dallas with an 82.4 passer rating to go with three touchdowns, five fumbles, and two picks. The Cowboys' defense has had plenty of success in holding Tom Brady and Joe Burrow in check to start the season, including four sacks on Burrow. For reference, the Cowboys have sacked Jones nine times in those five games.
- After missing time last season due to injury, Saquon Barkley has returned in 2022 with a vengeance through the first two games. He rushed for 164 yards against the Titans in Week 1 and another 72 yards in Week 2 against the Panthers but has averaged just above 57 yards against the Cowboys in six games.
- The Giants have worked to rebuild their offensive line over the past several years and it appears that they are beginning to see the fruits of their labor pay off. Left tackle Andrew Thomas graded out as Pro Football Focus's highest graded offensive lineman in the league after Week 2 at 89.1 overall. New York has only allowed four sacks on the season, and should be an intriguing matchup with Micah Parsons' and Co.
- New York has been tasked with a couple of tough opposing running backs to open the season in Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffery, and each had a fair amount of success. Henry racked up 82 yards on 21 carries in Week 1, whereas McCaffery had 102 yards on 15 touches. Look for the Cowboys to try to find that same level of success with their stable of backs in Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard.
- Much like the Cowboys leaned on their kicker to seal a victory for them, the Giants turned to Graham Gano to seal their Week 2 win with a 56-yard field goal. Gano, the former Panther, has been lights out for the Giants this season by smashing through all four of his field goal attempts this season so far, two of which came from 50 yards or longer. The battle of the veteran kickers could be a deciding factor in Monday's game.