The New York Giants will aim for their first 3-0 start since 2009 when they face the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC East battle on Monday night at East Rutherford, N.J.
New coach Brian Daboll guided New York to consecutive wins to start a season for the first time since 2016. The Giants didn’t crumble in the close games, winning by a total of four points.
“Yeah, the guys that we have on our team aren’t afraid of failure,” third-year safety Xavier McKinney told reporters. “We’ve been at the bottom. So we experienced all that. We’re not worried about messing up. … We’re going to have a breakthrough at some point.”
It’s too soon to discuss breakthroughs, but the contest with the Cowboys (1-1) will be another litmus test even with Dallas star quarterback Dak Prescott out with his fractured right thumb.
That’s because the Giants have dropped nine of their last 10 meetings with Dallas, including both matchups last season.
New York needs to change that trend and also figure out how to keep Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons under control.
Parsons is tied for the NFL lead with four sacks after having two in each of Dallas’ games this season. The second-year pro has recorded 17 in just 18 career games.
“He’s a problem,” Daboll said. “He’s a dynamic football player. And he can play multiple spots. He does. You’ll see him at linebacker; you’ll see him at defensive end. He has rare pass-rush ability. We’re going to have to have a good plan for him.
“He’s fun to watch when you’re not getting ready to play him. I’ll give him that compliment. He just does things that are pretty impressive on the football field.”
Parsons and his teammates combined for six sacks while beating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 last week.
The Cowboys kept pressure on Bengals star Joe Burrow all game long during the impressive win.
“One lion can’t do it by himself,” Parsons said. “It’s just like when 10 hyenas go after one lion, the lion is liable to lose. The fact that I’ve got 10 other guys that I feel that I can rely on, that’s what makes this boat go ’round.”
However, Parsons missed Thursday’s practice with an illness. Owner Jerry Jones said Parsons returned negative results for COVID-19 and the flu.
Meanwhile, the Dallas offense ranks 31st in the NFL at 11.5 points per game.
Cooper Rush started in place of Prescott against the Bengals and completed 19 of 31 passes for 235 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Most importantly, he guided the Cowboys to Brett Maher’s decisive 50-yard field goal as time expired.
“That’s Cooper Rush — we see that every day,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s the same, he is so steady (in his) personality type. He never blinks.”
Rush is 2-0 in his career as a starter. He passed for 325 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while leading Dallas to a win over the Minnesota Vikings last season when Prescott was sidelined.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has passed for 364 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Star running back Saquon Barkley has a league-leading 236 rushing yards.
New York rookie edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) could make his debut. The fifth overall pick in the 2022 draft was limited in Thursday’s practice.
Giants defensive end Azeez Ojulari (calf) also is hopeful of making his season debut. He was limited Thursday, as was receiver Kadarius Toney (hamstring).
Defensive tackle Leonard Williams (knee) and cornerback Aaron Robinson (appendix) didn’t practice. Also missing practice were defensive backs Justin Layne (concussion) and Nick McCloud (hamstring) and receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (knee).
Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) was injured against the Bengals and sat out Thursday’s practice. Also sitting out were safety Jayron Kearse (knee) and guard Connor McGovern (ankle).