Monday Night Football hits the Meadowlands this week as the New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys, their NFC East rivals.
It’s a rematch of the season-opener for both squads. The Cowboys (4-3) won that game, 35-17, but this is a new-look Giants team they’ll be facing in primetime.
Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has been the Giants starter since Week 3, supplanting Eli Manning from that role. The Duke graduate was seen as a bit of a controversial pick back in April, but he’s posted respectable numbers. He’s thrown for 1,466 yards in this season with 10 touchdown passes.
However, he’s also committed 12 turnovers (seven interceptions and five fumbles) since becoming the starter, which ties Jones with Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston as the most in the NFL. That doesn’t include a fumble he lost in a mop-up role against the Cowboys back on Sept. 8.
Over at William Hill, the Cowboys are 6.5-point favorites, with moneyline odds of -330 (the Giants are +260). The over/under for the game is 48.5 points. Dallas has covered the spread in the last five matchups between the two teams.
Cowboys Shining Under Prescott
Dallas is coming off its bye week, and when they last played on Oct. 20, the Cowboys routed Philadelphia 37-10 to snap a three-game losing streak. In the Dak Prescott-era, Dallas is 2-2 against the spread in its first game after a bye.
However, Prescott is having a career year this season, having thrown for 2,123 yards and 12 scores while completing 70.6 percent of his passes. While he’s no Lamar Jackson, he’s still rushed for 168 yards and three scores.
Under Prescott, the Cowboys offense has generated 437.9 yards per game, making it the best offense in the league. His favorite target this season has been Amari Cooper, who has caught 38 passes for 621 yards and five touchdowns. Of those catches, 10 have gone for at least 20 yards.
The Cowboys will face a Giants defense that has been prone to give up points. With the exception of the 28-3 win over the Redskins on Sept. 29, New York has allowed opponents to score at least 27 points in each game this season.
The 386.8 yards per game surrendered is sixth-worst in the league.
Giants Looking to Improve
On offense, the Giants will be missing receiver Sterling Shepard, who remains in the concussion protocol after suffering one in Week 5. He had been cleared to play on Friday, but the fourth-year wideout, who has 25 catches for 267 yards, started feeling symptoms again over the weekend.
Still, Jones will have other weapons available for Monday Night Football, including running back Saquon Barkley, tight end Evan Engram, and receiver Golden Tate.
In an interview with Giants.com, coach Pat Shurmur said that his team moved the ball well against the Cowboys in Week 1. New York racked up 470 yards, but they lost a couple fumbles and didn’t fare well on third down, converting just 2 of 11 into first downs.
He also said the defense gave up too many big plays.
So, those are certainly things that we need to improve on,” he said. “We’ve had stretches this year where we improved in those areas, and we have to continue to do that. It’s safe to say that halfway through the season, you’re a different team, and I anticipate that we’ve improved.”
Not only are the Giants looking to snap a five-game losing streak to their rival and win for the first time in nearly three years, but New York is also looking to break out of a four-game skid this season.