We’ve got an NFC East battle on Monday Night Football as the Dallas Cowboys head to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants. The Cowboys are 4-3 and sitting at first place in the division after a 37-10 rout of Philadelphia, while the Giants are 2-6 and coming off a tough loss on the road in Detroit.
This game features two of the best running backs in the league with Ezekiel Elliot leading the way for the Cowboys while Saquon Barkley carries the offensive load for the Giants. However, the final score could have more to do with which side has the advantage in the passing game.
From the kickoff to the final whistle we break down the odds for this rivalry with our best bets and predictions. **video
DALLAS COWBOYS AT NEW YORK GIANTS (+6.5, 48 @ BETAMERICA)
Besides Skip Bayless there aren’t many that consider Dak Prescott an elite quarterback, but the Giants defense might make him look one on Monday night. New York’s pass defense is one of the worst in the NFL, allowing a 70.2 completion percentage (29th in the league) and 8.5 yards per attempt (30th) to opposing QBs.
These teams tangled back in Week 1 and Prescott scorched the G-Men for 405 yards and four touchdowns throw the air. Expect the Cowboys to come out of the gate airing the ball out against a Giants team that allows 8.0 points per game in the opening quarter.
The Cowboys allow 5.4 first-quarter ppg which ranks 21st in the league, and that number has ballooned up to 9.3 ppg over their last three games. When you consider that the Cowboys allow opposing running backs 4.4 yards per carry and 43.8 receiving yards per game, and are going up against one of the best RBs in the league in Barkley, the Giants could move the chains early as well. Take the Over on the first-quarter total.
PICK: First quarter total Over 9.5 (-115)
FIRST HALF BET
The Giants are allowing a whopping 18.2 ppg in the first 30 minutes, the worst number in the NFL. The Cowboys put up 27 points in the first half against Philadelphia last week and scored three first-half touchdowns against the G-Men in their previous matchup.
While Prescott and the passing game destroyed the Giants in that encounter, Ezekiel Elliott was held in check to the tune of 53 rushing yards on 13 carries. But Elliot is simply too good to contain again. While many star running backs tend to get stronger as the game goes on, Elliot is actually more effective in the early going rushing for 49.1 rushing yards and 4.6 yards per carry before half time.
Back the Over on the Cowboys 1H team total.
PICK: First half team points Dallas Over 13.5 (-120)
Cowboys WR Amari Cooper is coming off 106 receiving yards last week against the Eagles and had an identical 106-yard performance in Week 1 against the Giants. Cooper is far and away Prescott’s go-to receiver and he’s been one of the best wideouts in the league since joining the Cowboys last season.
Cooper has now played 16 regular-season games with the Cowboys going back to last year and has 91 catches for 1,341 yards and 11 touchdowns over that span. According to Football Outsiders, the Giants have the third-worst defensive DVOA against No. 1 wide receivers, and they’ve been getting burned deep all year allowing 26 receptions of 20+ yards to opposing WRs.
With Cooper eighth in the league with 10 catches for more than 20 yards, back him to have a huge day and take the Over on his receiving yards.
PICK: Amari Cooper Over 82.5 receiving yards (-115)
FULL GAME TOTAL
Like any rookie QB, Giants first-rounder Daniel Jones makes his share of mistakes but he’s not afraid to attack downfield and should be oozing with confidence after his 322-yard four TD performance against the Lions last week. And for pretty much the first time this season Jones will have all his weapons at his disposal with Sterling Shepherd expected to be back in action alongside Golden Tate, Evan Engram, rookie speedster Darius Slayton and the monster that is Saquon Barkley.
New York should be able to put up some points against an inconsistent Cowboys defense that is ranked just 19th in the league in defensive DVOA. The Giants’ biggest worry will be on the defensive side of the ball where their stop-unit ranks 26th in DVOA and gave up 494 yards and 35 points to Dallas in Week 1. Take the Over.
PICK: Over 48 (-110)
FULL GAME SIDE
At first glance, this looks like a trap game. You’ve got a divisional rivalry with the home underdog finally looking healthy and their first-year signal-caller coming off a career game. But the Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams and have dominated NFC East foes recently, going 13-3 ATS in their previous 16 contests against divisional opponents.
The Giants are simply awful on the defensive side of the ball and won’t have the speed or athleticism to keep up with Dallas downfield. In addition, they have a troubling tendency to turn the ball over, with 2.4 giveaways per game which tied for the most in the league.
Dallas also has the top offense in the league on third downs, converting 51.9 percent of the time. And while their overall defense isn’t the best they are excellent on third downs, holding opponents to a conversion rate of 26.3 percent, the second-best rate after New England.
Don’t be surprised to see this one turn into a shoot-out but the G-Men simply don’t have the defense to slow the Cowboys down, and turning the ball over will prove costly when they’re in catch-up mode.
PICK: Dallas -6.5 (-110)