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Cowboys vs. Giants: Each team’s X-factor player for Monday night

The surprising 2-0 Giants square off against a Cooper Rush-led Cowboys team looking to get their second win in a row.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants

We are going to learn a lot about both teams Monday night. Are the Giants for real and another threat within the NFC East or is their 2-0 start a fraud? Can Cooper Rush continue to play clean football while allowing this defense to carry this football team? Early season football is often times a mirage, and how a team starts isn’t always indicative of what they are going to look like heading into the final stretch of the season.

No question about it, even with Rush at the helm this would be an important win for the Giants. 3-0 is nothing to sneeze at and if they lose to a backup QB in prime time, surely that will be a hit to their shining start and questions about their legitimacy will intensify. The Giants aren’t the only ones facing an important week three scenario as the Cowboys would love to keep pace with the Giants, and stay near the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, as they look to stay afloat during Dak Prescott’s absence. There is a lot to learn from Monday night, and what transpires during this week’s contest will go a long way in giving us at least some clarity on both of these teams.

These two individuals, one a Cowboy, one a member of the Giants, will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game.

Dallas Cowboys X-factor:

Micah Parsons

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

It is low hanging fruit to pick the NFL sack leader through two weeks, and one of the league’s best players and say he is the X-factor, but the reality is his impact cannot be ignored. This Giants offensive line is largely underwhelming, outside of left tackle Andrew Thomas, the Giants other four starters have struggled to start the season. The Giants are living through Saquon Barkley and his legs, but head coach Brian Daboll and the offensive staff will only be able to protect Daniel Jones from Parsons for so long before third downs and other obvious passing downs arise.

The Giants simply do not have an answer for a player of Micah Parsons caliber. Granted, it looks as if the league doesn’t quiet have one yet either, but the way Dan Quinn is able to use Parsons in a variety of different ways to wreak havoc is so valuable. They could also just line him up against the rookie right tackle from Alabama, Evan Neal, and let him welcome the rookie to the NFL. Every week you could make a case to have Micah Parsons as your X-factor, but this week his impact may just be too much to ignore.

New York Giants X-factor:

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Giants plan of attack isn’t a complex one. All things start and end with Saquon Barkley, and how he produces on game day is often times an easy indication of how the Giants look offensively that day. Barkley is clearly talented enough to carry the load, and when healthy enough to do so it’s a plan that has shown the ability to work, especially evident as to how the Giants have started their season 2-0. All eyes will be on this Giants X-factor, and the Cowboys defense is tasked with limiting his impact come Monday night.

Out the gate, Barkley is the league leader in rushing yards, and with the new offensive staff, the Giants haven’t been shy about their game plan and who is their engine to make the offense go. 39 rushing attempts for 236 yards and one touchdown is proof of a plan. The Cowboys job is to get Daboll and staff off that plan and put the ball in Daniel Jones’ hand. Load the box, play the run, and take your chances with putting the game in Jones’ hand. The focal point will clearly be stopping Barkley and the rushing attack and the importance of doing so is why he is an easy choice for this week’s X-factor.

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