The Week 3 slate of games concludes on Monday Night Football with an NFC East showdown. The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will play their first division game of the 2022 campaign at MetLife Stadium. Both teams are coming off of three point victories at home in Week 2. Dallas outlasted the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17, while New York took care of business against the Carolina Panthers 19-16.
We’ll be paying attention to three narratives during the primetime matchup.
Michael Gallup’s Return
After suffering a torn ACL at the tail end of the regular season last year, Dallas wide receiver Michael Gallup has worked his way back over the last eight months to get back into playing condition. Fans will see him on the field for the first time on Monday night, for a Cowboys offense that is looking for a spark anywhere it can find one.
While it has already been reported that Gallup’s snaps will be limited in his first game back, his presence will be extremely valuable. He may not have a gaudy statistical line right out of the gate, but this is an important first step for him and the team. It will be important to watch him run and see if he’s able to get separation and stay healthy.
Giants Getting Healthier On Defense
Speaking of recovering impact players, New York looks like it will receive a big boost on defense with the return of two talented young players. Second year linebacker Azeez Ojulari had a solid rookie season for the Giants, and will look to pick up where he left off. In 2021, he posted eight sacks, 13 quarterbacks hits and 49 combined tackles, while appearing in all 17 games.
While it will be good to have Ojulari back, perhaps the more anticipated return to play will be that of rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Giants selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and was arguably the most talented defensive lineman in this year’s class. Thibodeaux suffered a knee injury in preseason against the Bengals, and the team was extremely fortunate that his knee injury was not more serious.
It will be interesting to see how New York utilizes Ojulari and Thibodeaux, and if they both play a full compliment of plays.
New York’s Aggressive Mentality
New head coach Brian Daboll does not want his team to play conservatively, or have any thoughts of what might have happened if they did not seize an opportunity. This approach was on full display in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans, when the offense was left on the field to attempt a two point conversion to win the game.
There will likely be moments during the game on Monday where Daboll and his staff will have the chance to punt, or settle for a field goal. We will see if the unbridled confidence that he has displayed in the early part of the season will play a factor in how New York approaches third and fourth down tries.