Clarence Hill: Who has the edge between Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants

Yffy Yossifor/yyossifor@star-telegram.com

The key to the Dallas Cowboys success last season was their dominance in the NFC East. They were 6-0 in the division, fueling their 12-5 record.

Their hopes of making back-to-back trips to the playoffs for the first time since 2006-2007 is based on them continuing dominant the NFC East.

Through two games, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are sitting atop the division with 2-0 records, while the Cowboys are tied with the Washington Commanders at 1-1.

The Cowboys get their first chance to reassert their dominance in the division in Monday night’s showdown against a revived Giants team, under first-year coach Brian Daboll.

No team has repeated at NFC East champs since the Eagles in 2003-2004

So who has the edge?

Cowboys Offense vs. Giants Defense

After scoring just three points in the over opener, the Cowboys offense showed some signs of life last week in a20-17 victory against the Bengals behind backup quarterback Cooper Rush.

The Cowboys will try to continue to keep it basic and rely on running game with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard against a Giants defense that is susceptible to the run, giving up 119.5 yards per game.

The difference is the Giants pass rush against the Cowboys young offensive line in their first road test of the season.

As well as Rush played last week, his 2.21-second average time to throw was the lowest among quarterbacks with more than two drop backs in Week 2, according to Pro Football Focus. His 6.7-yard average depth of target was 26th.

Edge: Giants

Cowboys Defense vs. Giants Offense

Considering the Giants are 31st in the league in passing, averaging just 159 yards per game through air, and that pass defense is the strength of the Cowboys defense, led by linebacker Micah Parsons’ league-leading four sacks and the strong play in the secondary from cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Anthony, this match up is all about the ground game.

The Giants and running back Saquon Barkley are fifth in rushing, averaging 170.5 yards per game. The Cowboys are giving up 120.5 per game. So they must stop the run and force the Giants to beat them with quarterback Daniel Jones.

Edge: Cowboys

Special Teams

The Cowboys have been strong on special teams through the first two games of the season. Kicker Brett Maher has made three field goals of 50 yards or more, including the game-winning kick against the Bengals.

It is only a matter of time before returner KaVontae Turpin breaks one on a punt or kick off. But this will be their first trip to the Giants Stadium and having to deal with swirling winds in the Meadowlands.

Giants kicker Graham Gano was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his four-field goal performance in the 19-16 triumph vs. the Panthers last Sunday. He made kicks of 36, 31, 51 and 35 yards.

Edge: Giants

Coaching

The Giants are riding high with new coach Brian Daboll and are looking to continue on a 2-0 start, their first since 2016. The best part of the Giants team is the defense under Wink Martindale, the former Baltimore Ravens coordinator.

But Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy has the most experience and arguably the league’s best defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on his side.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

The Cowboys have won 9 of the last 10 meetings in the series are 15-5 against the Giants over the last 10 years.

Edge: Cowboys

Prediction: Giants 17, Cowboys 13