The 2-0 New York Giants host the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
The classic NFC East rivalry renews on Monday Night Football, with Daniel Jones and the Giants looking to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2009. Standing in their way will be the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys, with Cooper Rush at the helm coming off a 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Many may be surprised to see the Giants undefeated, but under first year head coach, Brian Daboll, many believe this team can stay competitive throughout 2022, health permitting.
Daniel Jones has not exactly supplanted himself as “the guy”, but under Daboll, through two games has shown signs of progression from a ball security standpoint. Through his first three seasons, Jones record 36 fumbles and 29 interceptions over 38 career games. Not all 36 of those fumbles were lost, but the point stands that the 1.7 fumbles+interceptions is a brutal measure. Of course, it is only a two week sample size, but through two weeks Jones has only recorded one of each. Still not perfect, but if the trend continues, it really is a drastic difference that will increase the competitive ability of this football team.
You can take it or leave it, but I will scream from the mountain tops that Brian Daboll is a very good offensive coach, and while Daniel Jones doesn’t appear to be “the guy”, Daboll has and can continue to put Jones in the best possible position to succeed.
Behind Dak Prescott, dating back to 2016, the Cowboys have dominated the Giants with a 9-3 record, 9-2 with Dak. The three losses? The final week of 2020 without Dak and both teams out of contention, and both matches in the 2016 season, the last season the Giants found themselves in the postseason. The dominance of the Giants, and the NFC East as a whole during that stretch has been real, however, the layout of this division is by far the deepest it has been since that 2016 season.
Enter Cooper Rush and his 2-0 career record as a starter, including a win last year in primetime against Minnesota, and last week against the Bengals. Rush threw for 19/31 passing with 235 yards and a touchdown, leading the Cowboys to 17 of their 20 points in the first half of that contest. At the end of the day, I think the winner of this game is going to be the team that wins the turnover battle, and more than likely that should fall on the shoulders of Jones and Rush. Now let’s get into today’s best bets!
Giants 2nd Half Spread (-0.5)
The thought process for this pick is twofold. On one hand, I really like what the Giants defense has done in the second half of these first two games under this coaching regime. Week 1 against Tennessee, this defense following a 13-0 halftime deficit, held the Titans to seven 2nd half points, including three-and-outs on three of their first four defensive drives. When healthy this defense is formidable, and while everyone remembers the dumpster fire that was the second half of 2021, this Giants defensive was scrappy through the first half of the season last year.
In the case of the Cowboys, I’m expecting a similar outing to last week’s performance. Potentially solid first half, with a rough 2nd half as the Giants make necessary adjustments. Rush came to life on the final drive to set the Cowboys up for the win, but Cincy outscored Dallas 14-3 in the second half, and had it not been for some of the general issues that the Bengals are facing, that second half could have been far worse for Dallas.
I’ll avoid the full Monday Night Football game spread, but give me the G-Men to outscore Dallas in the second half.
Saquon Barkley Over 77.5 Rushing Yards
The feelings toward Saquon Barkley around the NFL public are certainly mixed, but given the right matchup, and given the personnel of the Giants offense, Barkley is primed for big production. What gives me the most confidence here, is that the Giants seem fixated on feeding Saquon the rock.
I still believe that Saquon, despite his injuries, is a very talented back, but in my opinion the reason he’s being fed to this extent is a lack of trust, at least to some degree, in Daniel Jones. I say to some degree, because they have allowed him to throw 20+ times in both games, but the lack of trust comes in the deep pass department.
Jones’ intended air yards per pass attempt ranks 31st in the NFL. For the sake of New York, that number will hopefully improve, but unless there is a drastic change, the Giants will lean on long grind-it-out type drives, protecting the football, and most importantly for this pick, feeding Saquon Barkley. In Week 2, Barkley fell short of this yardage total, but not for a lack of attempts. Saquon carried the ball 21 times for 72 yards against a tough Carolina rush defense that also held Alvin Kamara to a similar output.
My opinion for tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup, will be that this Dallas rush defense isn’t quite as stout as Carolina’s was. They did have success last week up against Joe Mixon and the Bengals, but as mentioned, that team has issues, and the Bengals were throwing for their lives in the second half of that game, almost entirely abandoning the run. If you are telling me that Barkley is going to rush the ball around 20 times once again, I’m happy to bet on his over, provided it isn’t north of 100.
I think Saquon gets up over 90 today and should have a couple of nice 15+ yard runs under his belt when the night is done. Let’s win some money on Monday Night Football, shall we?
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