A pair of bitter NFC East rivals will become reacquainted with one another in Week 2 as the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys. Kickoff is set for 8:20 EST on Sunday, September 16, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
If we look at this week’s NFL betting odds, the Cowboys are 3-point favorites at home. This game also has an over/under of 43 points.
Both teams are coming off rather ugly losses in Week 1. The Cowboys lost 16-8 to the Panthers in a game that saw Dak Prescott get sacked six times. The Cowboys also failed to reach 100 yards rushing against a powerful Carolina defense. To be fair, the Dallas defense put forth a strong performance, but it wasn’t good enough to get the Cowboys a win.
The Giants also endured an ugly loss at home to the Jaguars. New York actually out-gained Jacksonville in total yards, but the Giants couldn’t turn those yards into points often enough. A pick-six throw by Eli Manning early in the 4th quarter ended up being the difference in the 20-15 loss.
With both teams staring down the barrel of a 0-2 start to the season, each will be motivated to get a win on Sunday night. The Giants may be a little more motivated after getting swept by the Cowboys last season. In those two games, Dallas outscored New York 49-13. However, history can usually be thrown out the window when these two teams meet, especially when there’s so much at stake with both sides trying to avoid starting the season 0-2.
If you saw these two teams play in Week 1, it’s hard not to think this will be a close, low-scoring game. Taking the under on 43 points isn’t a terrible idea but one that would make me a little nervous. I’m more comfortable leaning toward the underdog Giants and the points. Even if the Cowboys win, it’ll take something unexpected for it to happen by more than a field goal, making the underdog the safe pick in this game.
Based solely on the play of the Dallas offense last week, it’s hard to pick the Cowboys to cover any spread. In fairness, they played a quality Carolina defense away from home, which explains some of their struggles. However, that excuse can only go so far without considering some of the flaws the Cowboys have on that side of the ball.
It starts with Prescott, who rarely played during the preseason and wasn’t sharp throwing the ball against the Panthers. Of course, he’s never been an accomplished passer in the NFL. When he’s had success throwing, it’s usually come as a result of the Cowboys have great success running the ball.
That leads to the other big problem the Cowboys have, which is their offensive line. Center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely while the rest of the unit began the season a little banged up. Against the Panthers, the Cowboys were held to just 94 yards rushing. Again, Carolina’s defense deserves some of the credit. But that’s not the whole story and that kind of productivity isn’t going to cut it moving forward.
If you take away one long scramble the Giants gave up to Blake Bortles last week, they were strong defending the run against Jacksonville. The Jaguars are usually a team that can push teams off the line of scrimmage, so the New York defense deserves some credit. Based on that, one has to think the Giants will have a chance to keep the Dallas running game contained this week.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense performed well in Week 1. However, they did so against a team that likes to run the ball and rarely pushes the ball down the field. That won’t be the case this week against the Giants. With Odell Beckham Jr. back healthy, the Giants have at least one downfield passing threat. Beckham had 11 catches for 111 yards last week, and that was against a Jacksonville secondary that’s considerably better than the Dallas secondary.
Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley also has to be looked at as the X-factor in Sunday’s game. He was kept under wraps for much of Week 1 until his 68-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. His lack of consistency can hold up the New York offense at times. But Barkley is a constant threat to bust out a long run, giving him the ability to change a game at any time.
To be honest, I was more impressed with the Giants in Week 1 than the Cowboys. Neither team was all that great, but with Beckham and Barkley, the Giants have a lot for opposing defenses to fear. The Giants just happened to play one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. I think the New York offense will start to break out a little more than last week. I don’t get that impression with the Dallas offense, which makes me a little more eager to lean toward the Giants and the points.