The (2-0) New York Giants and (1-1) Dallas Cowboys will renew their storied rivalry on Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
It will be a festive night for the Giants as they will induct seven new members (Joe Morris, Ottis Anderson, Rodney Hampton, Leonard Marshall, Jimmy Patton, Kyle Rote, and Ronnie Barnes) into their Ring of Honor at Halftime.
New York is looking to do something they haven’t done since 2009 and which is to start the season 3-0 and, in the process, create some separation between them and their rival in the NFC East standings.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, are looking for their third consecutive win over Big Blue.
This is the biggest game in the early coaching career of Brian Daboll, as it’s his first divisional game and his first game on Monday Night Football.
This is a star-studded game with several noteworthy items to keep an eye on. But here are the three major things to watch for in Monday’s game.
Micah Parsons vs Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal
The Giants believe they have their offensive tackles set for the next decade in Andrew Thomas and rookie Evan Neal. If they perform at a high level on Monday night, it will add some reassurance to that claim as they will face one of the best defensive players in the league in second-year All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons.
Pro Football Focus has Thomas graded as the highest-rated offensive tackle through the first two games of the season, while Parsons already has four sacks on the season. These two will be pitted against one another often on Monday as Thomas protects Daniel Jones‘s blindside, and Parsons is lined up often on that side.
Although Parsons has missed practice time this week due to an illness, he is expected to play as of right now, and rest assured the Cowboys will have him lined up in multiple positions.
Aside from wanting to win the game, there’s a bit of Giants pride on the line as some are comparing Parsons to the greatest Giant of all time, Lawrence Taylor. Comparing Parsons, who has yet to play 20 NFL games, to what many consider the greatest defensive player of all time is premature, to say the least.
Thomas and Neal will be motivated not just to keep Parsons and check and get the victory but to also show that there’s only one LT.
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How often will Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay be on the field?
After having an injury-filled and unproductive 2021 season, fans were hoping Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay would flourish in Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s offense.
But neither man has seen much playing time. Toney was only on the field for seven snaps in Week 1, and Golladay only played two snaps last week. Brian Daboll mentioned several times that the Giants have a competitive receivers’ room, and they play the guys that earn the right to play that week.
With Toney and Golladay out of the mix, Sterling Shepard, Richie James, and Davis Sills V have seen the bulk of the playing time.
Toney did not practice on Friday due to a hamstring injury, but if he is active on Monday, it will be intriguing to see if both he and Golladay once again see limited playing time.
Related: Kenny Golladay proving to be a $72 million bust for New York Giants
Stars making their 2022 season debut
All signs point towards Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari making their 2022 debut on Monday against the Cowboys. For Thibodeaux, it will be his NFL debut, and many people are expecting the fifth overall draft pick to make an immediate impact.
Finally having New York’s two best pass rushers on the field will be a major upgrade to a defense that has already been outstanding in the first two games. With Thibodeaux and Ojulari on the field, this will allow defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to get more creative with his schemes.
The Cowboys are also getting a welcomed addition to their lineup this week as receiver Michael Gallup will make his season debut from tearing his ACL last season.
With the return of Gallup, Dallas now has two dynamic receivers with Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. This will be the toughest test yet for the Giants secondary, who will likely be without starting cornerback Aaron Robinson for a second straight week as he recovers from appendicitis.
Although Cooper Rush isn’t the same caliber as quarterback Dak Prescott, look for Rush to take his shots downfield against Robinson’s replacement which will likely be Fabian Moreau or Cor’Dale Flott. If New York’s secondary can get the better of Lamb and Gallup, Big Blue will improve to 3-0.
Related: 2022 NFL defense rankings: Evaluating top 20 defenses entering Week 3