Giants eager to shake off past prime-time struggles against Cowboys
« Yes, I do, » said Daniel Jones. « I think we all do. »
Oh good? He does? They all do it?
How can Jones or any of his Giants teammates over the past three years say with a straight face that he enjoys playing in the prime-time spotlight? Sure, the football world is watching, but what those curious eyes saw was the worst of Jones and the Giants. There have been close games, not-so-close games, atrocious finishes and the sting of being outplayed. What didn’t was a victory. Not one. Not for quite a while.
The Giants, with new head coach Brian Daboll, are changing the fortunes of the franchise. Winning the season opener and then the next game is not something that has happened in these regions since 2016. Excitement and expectations are building. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The bright light, however, is what has plagued the Giants for too long. They are 0-10 in their last 10 night games played on national television. Since beating the 49ers on the road on Nov. 12, 2018, the Giants are 0-6 Monday night, 0-3 Thursday night and 0-1 Sunday night.
Here they go again. The Giants take on the Cowboys on « Monday Night Football, » and the call is for a « white-out » event at MetLife Stadium — fans are invited to wear white shirts to match the Giants’ all-white Color Rush jerseys. Everything is possible to prevent the usual darkness from seeping into the evening scene.
« We just have to go out and play our game, » Jones said. “I think that’s the most important thing. Prime time or not, we haven’t won enough games in recent years.
Jones is 0-8 in his career in prime-time games, which might explain why there’s so much trepidation outside of the Giants universe about his ability to be a quarterback. franchise back. Heck, there are a lot of doubts about it from inside the fanbase.
So far this season, Jones has played mostly error-free and had game-winning games in both games, and the byproduct has created a wonderful head coaching start for Daboll. What follows can still dissociate it from past regimes. The Giants haven’t started 3-0 since 2009 and they’ve lost nine of their last 10 games against the Cowboys.
« Playing Monday night is always special, but the things that help you win a game on Sunday at 1 p.m. are the things that help you win a game on Monday, » Daboll said. « And I think that’s where we need to focus. »
No one can be entirely sure of either team. The Giants win with defense and a heavy dose of running back Saquon Barkley. The Cowboys are 1-1 despite only 23 points, and Cooper Rush is 1-0 this season as a starting quarterback, replacing injured Dak Prescott. Rush, 28, spent the summer of 2020 and a month on the practice squad with the Giants. There were many glowing comments from the Giants about Rush, undrafted from Central Michigan, ahead of his third NFL start.
« He’s a smooth operator out there, and he doesn’t get shaken up, » defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. « Our job is to try to shake it off. »
The Giants expect their young frontrunners, Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux, to be available after missing the first two games with injuries. That Thibodeaux’s highly anticipated NFL debut is taking place in a standalone game is fitting, as he’s a big personality about to take a big stage.
« Big games like this – whether it’s a national championship, the Super Bowl, ‘Monday Night Football,’ not to say it compares to the Super Bowl – in a sense that everyone is watching , I wouldn’t say it adds pressure on me, but in a sense if you do better it will amplify,” Thibodeaux said.
Jones acknowledged that for a Monday night game, « there’s energy, there’s excitement. » Throughout his time with the Giants, there was also heartbreak. Here’s another chance to show just how different these giants are.