6 things to know about Week 3’s opponent for the Cowboys vs. Giants

In Week 2, the Dallas Cowboys managed to win despite having a backup quarterback in the starting lineup. Cooper Rush, the Cowboys’ backup quarterback, performed admirably when needed for the second time in two years.

The question now is whether or not he can repeat it. Because starting quarterback Dak Prescott returned to the game after missing a week due to a calf injury last year, Rush didn’t have to defend his victory. Rush will receive another start at quarterback in 2022 as Dallas gets ready for their first away game against the New York Giants.

The Giants are tied for first place in the NFC East after winning their first two games of the season, proving that they are not the same team as in recent years. The Cowboys will pass the Giants in the standings if they can defeat their rivals on Monday Night Football. Here are six facts about the Giants that the Cowboys should be aware of as they prepare for their Week 3 meeting.

Not same old Giants

The Giants have begun their last five seasons 0-2 or worse since they last made the playoffs in 2016. This year, however, that isn’t the case as the Giants have a 2-0 record after two nail-biting victories under new head coach Brian Daboll.

The aggressive mentality Daboll brought to the organization has already paid off. Late in the game against the Tennessee Titans, Daboll decided to go for a two-point conversion rather than the game-tying extra point, and the successful attempt resulted in the victory.

In his first head coaching job, Daboll is doing everything right, and the Giants are finding ways to win games rather than losing them. The Giants have defeated both teams, but neither has yet earned a victory; when the Cowboys visit, that will change.

Rush is a blessing in disguise for the Giants, but they’re off to a strong start.

Saquon Barkley is playing up to his potential

Saquon Barkley is an incredibly talented running back, but he has struggled to live up to his high draft status. He has struggled with injuries for the majority of his career; in his four seasons with the Giants, he has only once completed a full schedule of games.

With 236 rushing yards to his credit and 282 total yards, the great runner is having a strong start to 2022. Among running backs who have had at least 30 touches this season, Barkley leads the NFL with a 6.1 yard average per carry.

In the season opener against the Titans, Barkley’s heroics in the second half helped the Giants come back and win, including the game-winning two-point convert. If the Cowboys’ run defense is to win the game, they must find a way to stop Barkley.

Offensive line is much improved

The Giants’ offensive line is being rebuilt, just like the Cowboys’ is. To play right tackle, the team selected seventh-overall pick Evan Neal, while left tackle is still being developed by highly-drafted offensive lineman Andrew Thomas. Thomas is thriving, which is assisting the offensive line to turn the corner even though Neal is still developing as a rookie.

The unit has two additional alterations from the starting five from the previous year. Right guard Mark Glowinski has taken over, while Daboll has acquired veteran center Jon Feliciano from the Buffalo Bills. The Giants have been lacking a middle player in recent seasons, but Feliciano’s presence there has helped to steady the line.

The offensive line has allowed eight sacks so far this season, but in two games, they have also helped to establish a top five rushing offense. The Giants have spent years attempting to fix their terrible offensive line, and it appears that they are finally succeeding.

Daniel Jones still isn’t the answer at quarterback

The offensive line is getting better and the running game is strong, but the Giants still need a reliable quarterback. Daniel Jones, a fourth-year quarterback, hasn’t proven he can be a star player and could stifle the offense.

Jones hasn’t advanced much under his new offensive guru coach, but Daboll did miracles with Bills sensation Josh Allen. Although Jones does have a completion percentage of nearly 71%, his paltry 6.6 yards per attempt means he isn’t moving the ball down the field. Jones throws for only 182 yards per game.

Although he has only thrown one interception this year, it was an end zone pass that lost the Giants points and irritated Daboll, resulting in an outburst on the sidelines.

Jones’ propensity to hold onto the ball for an extended period of time while attempting to make a play has also contributed to the eight sacks.

They beat the backup quarterbacks

While the Giants have struggled to defeat the Cowboys’ leading quarterbacks, they frequently triumph when facing up against Dallas’ second-best quarterbacks. The Giants have won three straight games against the Cowboys’ backup quarterbacks, and they will get another opportunity to do so against Rush.

When Tony Romo was injured in 2015, Matt Cassel stepped in to start the backups’ losing streak. In 2016, Prescott was formally the backup quarterback after Romo suffered a back injury in the preseason. Prescott made his NFL debut in the Giants’ season-opening victory over the Cowboys. While Prescott was sidelined with an ankle ailment in 2020, the Giants defeated his replacement, Andy Dalton.

The Giants’ fortunate break comes when they face Rush rather than their owner, Prescott. After dropping his first two games against New York, Prescott has won nine in a row.

Key defenders could be returning

The Giants have played the first two games of the season without two of its best expected pass rushers, making them another team that has been without some crucial players to open the season. That could be altering.

Azeez Ojulari, the Giants’ top edge rusher from a year ago, has yet to play a down due to a calf ailment but is anticipated to. Ojulari, who led the Giants in sacks as a rookie with eight, is set to improve in his second season.

The Giants intended to pair top-five choice Kayvon Thibodeaux with Ojulari to create a terrifying pass rush. Although Thibodeaux was injured on a contentious block in the preseason, he is still scheduled to play against the Cowboys.

The Pro Bowl defensive lineman Leonard Williams is set to miss the Giants’ game due to a knee sprain, so it’s not all good news for them. Williams has eight years of experience and has never missed a game. He seems unlikely to play.

Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson, two wide receivers, are both listed as questionable to play; Robinson is also listed as having missed practice on Thursday. If neither play was made, the Giants would be short at receiver when facing the Cowboys.

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