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Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants Prediction: Early Control of the NFC East Up for Grabs on MNF

Surprising Giants look to make a statement against longtime rivals.

"Monday Night Football" shines the spotlight on the NFC East as the New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys. Last year, Dallas won its lone MNF contest while the Giants went 0-2 against the Chiefs and Buccaneers in the span of three weeks. The Cowboys swept both meetings with New York last year, winning 44-20 at home and 21-6 in New York. They've won nine of the last 10 in this series overall.

No Dak Prescott, no problem for the Cowboys last week, as they beat the AFC champion Bengals 20-17 at home. Cooper Rush managed the game well with one touchdown pass and no turnovers while taking only one sack. Dallas picked up the victory despite not getting much from its ground game, and that's because the defense harassed Joe Burrow into six sacks and disrupted the Cincy offense overall. We'll see if the team can follow that effort up with another big one despite not having Prescott back once again.

The Giants moved to 2-0 for the first time in six years as they held off Carolina 19-16 at home. Daniel Jones completed 22 of 34 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown in the victory. Saquon Barkley was not as effective as he was in Week 1, rushing for just 72 yards on 21 carries. But New York's defense bottled up Carolina's offense as Baker Mayfield threw for only 145 yards in the loss.

Monday Night Football: Dallas (1-1) at New York (2-0)

Kickoff: Monday, Sept. 26, at 8:15 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Giants -1
Tickets: As low as $150 on

Three Things To Watch

1. Intangibles
This will be the first road game of the season for Dallas, which has already hosted the Buccaneers and Bengals. Normally there would be concern about a contest after two high-profile games, but it is a divisional contest, so focus shouldn't be an issue. The Cowboys do return home in Week 4 to host the Commanders in a 1 p.m. contest before embarking on three straight road games. Meanwhile, this contest is part of a five-game stretch without a true road tilt for New York. They host the Bears next week before heading overseas to take on the Packers in London. With such a hot start, you know New York is going to put in a lot of effort for this one.

2. What a Rush
The Cowboys put together a wonderful game plan for their backup quarterback last week, and he rewarded them with a victory. Rush was a solid 19-of-31 for 235 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. The signal-caller from Central Michigan spread the ball around to five different targets and may actually get Michael Gallup back as well this week. Gallup has been out since last year with a torn ACL and is being counted on more with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr. both gone. New York has struggled against the run this season so far, so you can expect New York to stack the box and force Rush to beat them.

3. Giant steps forward
I was ready to give Daniel Jones one final season before completely writing him off, and one of the reasons why is that he's finally playing under a legit offensive mind with Brian Daboll at head coach. So far, that's paid off for the Duke signal-caller, who has a 70.9 percent completion rate (up from a career 63.1 percent) and three touchdown passes to just one interception. His 6.6 yards per attempt remains in line with his career average, however. Jones is running less than he usually does, but it's forced him to stay in the pocket and go through his reads. His wide receiving corps isn't the strongest with Sterling Shepard leading the way as Kenny Golladay has been a massive disappointment since coming over from Detroit.

Final Analysis

This is an important game for the Giants, as it may never be easier to get a win against the division-rival Cowboys. It'll also show America whether it's worth taking their 2-0 start seriously or whether it was a product of a pair of weak opponents. For the Cowboys, a victory on the road would be huge for the NFC East race. It's a really tough game to predict, but I'm going to back the only unit I trust in this one, and that's Dallas' defense. It won't be an entertaining contest in the least, but the road team will get the victory.

Prediction: Cowboys 20, Giants 14

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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