Another crazy week of NFL football is almost over and Week 3 has not disappointed from an entertainment perspective. Ahead of Monday Night Football we have just two teams sitting at 3-0, the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles start has not taken many by surprise but the Dolphins followed up that comeback win against the Ravens by beating the Super Bowl favourite, Buffalo Bills in a game that looked very one-sided according to the stats. The Bills ran 50 more plays than the Dolphins, had over double the time of possession and out-gained them by over 280 yards. But the Dolphins held on for a two point win and sit alone at the top of the AFC.
Other games of note included the Chiefs losing to a Colts team that were shutout by the Jaguars a week ago and the Jags themselves stomping all over an injury-plagued Chargers team. The Raiders and Texans are the only remaining winless teams but will be wondering how that’s the case having had a chance to win all three of their games.
The final game of Week 3 is another unattractive prime time matchup with the Cowboys visiting the Giants. The Giants have a chance to be the second NFC East team to open the season 3-0, just as we all predicted.
Dallas Cowboys +1.5 @ New York Giants: 39.5
These two teams scored a combined 39 points in Week 2 on their way to three point wins against the Bengals and Panthers. They look to have a lot more in common this season than the Cowboys would like, as they both will have to rely heavily on their run game and defense to win games. So far, so good on the defense side though as they have allowed just 18 points each per game through two weeks.
Cooper Rush looked a fairly capable stand in for Dak Prescott against the Bengals last week and Daniel Jones has looked like, Daniel Jones. But the Giants seem to have found a way to win games in spite of him under Brian Daboll and tonight’s matchup is probably going to be a question of which quarterback harms their team the least.
This Cowboys offense couldn’t look further from the team that led the league in points last season and has totalled just two touchdowns so far. The injury to Dak Prescott certainly doesn’t help but they have actually been able to move the ball better under Cooper Rush (obviously a very small sample size). Fortunately, they have probably the best defensive player in the league right now in Micah Parsons who put the team on his back against the Bengals last week where he recorded four sacks. He is 10/11 with Bet365 to get at least one this week, and I certainly wouldn’t bet against that.
The passing game has obviously struggled so far and the most concerning part for Cowboys fans is that Noah Brown has been outproducing CeeDee Lamb. This was supposed to be the season Lamb took over the WR1 role with the team moving Amari Cooper onto the Browns but he has caught just nine of his 22 targets so far. The expectation was that Michael Gallup would return to give the receiving room a boost this week but it seems he will be inactive again and tight end Schultz is also touch and go.
I think my favourite prop bet this week for the Cowboys is Tony Pollard to hit over 17.5 receiving yards. He had 55 last week and the Giants have allowed over 100 receiving yards to running backs across their two games.
I would also be looking at Zeke under 58.5 rushing yards but he averages over 80 yards a game against the Giants so probably worth avoiding even if he’s not the same player anymore.
The Giants look to have finally found themselves a coach in Brian Daboll and sit above .500 for the first time since the 2016 season. It is still too early to be talking about them as a playoff team for the first time since that season but the positive signs are there and given their schedule, it’s entirely possible.
An improved defense is a big reason they are 2-0 but the key factor has been the resurgence of Saquon Barkley. We all know what Barkley was and still is capable of, it is just a question of health. Through the first two weeks of the season he accounts for over 40% of the Giants scrimmage yards and when you look at the rest of their weapons on offense, it is clear that their season depends on him. Similar to Pollard, due to his quarterback’s limitations, I like Barkley’s chances of hitting the over on his receiving line which is 22.5 yards. But I prefer him at 21/20 to score a touchdown.
Elsewhere on offense, the Giants are looking thin at receiver with Richie James coming from nowhere to lead the team with 110 yards. With Kadarius Toney unable to stay healthy, Sterling Shepard should be the guy going forward and I would be leaning towards him hitting his over of 44.5 yards tonight.
It is tough to pick a winner in this one when you realise that it means either the Giants start the season 3-0 or the Cowboys win back to back games with Cooper Rush at quarterback. The Giants have won just one of their last ten against the Cowboys but I think I have a little bit more trust in their new coaching staff than I do the Cowboys and so I will lean the Giants in this one.
But ultimately, I think the under is the best bet here.