NFC East rivals meet for the second time this season
The Dallas Cowboys will travel to take on the New York Giants for "Monday Night Football" in Week 9. These two teams opened the season against each other with the Cowboys walking away with a sound 35-17 victory at home.
Dallas (4-3) is coming off of its bye and hoping to fare better than the last time it was in MetLife Stadium. The Jets stunned the Cowboys with a 24-22 loss in Week 6. The Giants (2-6) have lost four in a row since evening their record at 2-2.
So will the result be the same this time around? That remains to be seen, but regardless, this NFC East matchup has several interesting storylines to follow.
Dallas at New York
Kickoff: Monday, Nov. 4 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread: Dallas -7
Three Things to Watch
1. New players making their debuts
Prior to the Oct. 29 trade deadline, both the Cowboys and the Giants made moves to improve the depth and quality of their defensive fronts.
Dallas sent a 2021 conditional seventh-round pick, which could turn into a sixth-rounder, to the New England Patriots in order to acquire former long-time Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett. The 33-year old had 63 sacks through his first 10 seasons in the NFL, and his ability to play inside or out could make him a versatile piece for the Cowboys.
New York, on the other hand, took a much more youthful approach, parting with a third-round pick in 2020 and a fifth-round selection in 2021 in exchange for New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The No. 3 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft may not ever live up to draft position, but he can be an impactful player in the right defense.
It will be interesting to see how both players come along with their new teams.
2. Saquon Barkley vs. Ezekiel Elliott
In the modern NFL, seeing a running back selected in the top five of the draft is not a common practice. With that being said, these two teams playing on Monday night have made that bold move, and so far, it has paid off for both.
In 47 games since being drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, Elliott has rushed for 4,650 yards and 30 touchdowns while also adding 1,375 yards and six touchdowns receiving. Sure, there have been a few hiccups off the field, but the Ohio State product is one of the league's best running backs.
Barkley hasn't been on the field as long, but he has still managed to throw his name into the hat for top offensive playmakers in the league. Despite only playing in 21 games, the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft has 2,562 yards (1,680 rushing, 882 receiving) while putting up 18 total touchdowns.
During the first meeting this season, Barkley put up better numbers statistically (139 total yards on 15 touches). But Elliott (14 touches, 63 yards, touchdown) got the last laugh as his team won handily.
3. Daniel Jones' first game against Dallas
The first time these two teams played in Week 1, longtime quarterback Eli Manning was still the starter. Manning's underwhelming performance through two games (556 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, 6.2 yards per attempt) led to his benching.
The ups and downs (seven interceptions, six fumbles lost) have been prevalent for Jones, but the sixth overall pick of this year's draft has undoubtedly added a spark to the offense at times.
It will be interesting to see how he fares against a Cowboys defense that ranks ninth in the league in passing yards allowed per game (228.0).
It is hard to imagine that Dallas will be able to hand the Giants as much of a lopsided loss the second time around, especially with the Cowboys being on the road. With that being said, it is also hard to imagine a scenario where the Giants win outright.
There is a lot to love about the long-term potential of New York's offense, but will it show on Monday night? More than likely, Dallas will be the more consistent team, which will lead to them covering the seven-point spread.
Prediction: Cowboys 31, Giants 21
— Written by Clint Lamb, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ClintRLamb.