The Dallas Cowboys still have a lot of work to do this season, but their victory against the New York Giants showed the kind of promise that was missing in week one against the Panthers. The offense was the biggest difference from week one, as they found a way to make the plays and establish a kind of rhythm that was impossible against the Panthers.
In both games, however, the defense has been stellar. They had one of their most dominant performances in the Dak Prescott era against the Giants, thoroughly shutting down everything they wanted to do.
The pathetic state of the Giants offense line certainly helped them, but the Cowboys took advantage the way elite defenses do. The defensive line was utterly dominant, making sure Eli Manning never had time in the pocket and was continually being pushed back.
The most impressive part of this game, however, was not just the defensive line. They abused one of the weaker offensive lines in the NBA, but that is not what makes defending the Giants difficult.
For all their problems, the Giants still have two of the most dangerous and talented weapons in the NFL with Odell Beckham Jr. And Saquon Barkley. It is a lot easier when you really do not have to worry about anything but two offensive threats, but the Cowboys still shut them done in a way that very few teams are capable of.
Neither of them were able to break out, because the defense did not make the kind of mistakes that they will always take advantage of. They made sure everything was difficult for the two of them, with absolutely no space available around them.
Barkley was racking up a lot of yards in the passing game, but that is what the Cowboys wanted. Those check downs were the only thing they could consistently do, and the Cowboys prevented Barkley from doing anything too damaging with all those opportunities.
Other than that, Barkley’s 28 rushing yards and Beckham’s 51 receiving yards are all you need to know to understand how well the Cowboys shut them down. The Cowboys made it clear that they will not be pushed around by any individual talent, and they are doing everything else as a unit to contain what their opponents are trying to do.
The Cowboys knew that their defense was going to be more important with the uncertain state of the offense this season. They have a lot of young talent, and it is hard to envision this season going better for the defense.
They are getting pressure from different spots on the offensive line, they have been successful blitzing with a secondary that has avoided the mistakes that will burn them.
It is far too early to be confident these young players will continue to play this well, but that also opens the door for a lot of improvement.
The Giants are far from a top test, but it is still a division rival with pieces that will be challenging to any defense in the NFL. Right now, the Cowboys have a defense that they know they can win with, and they do not need a dominant offense in order to do that.
On top of everything, there are still pieces like Randy Gregory or David Irving who might bring another spark at some point to this defense. For the first time in a while, the defense has made it clear that they are the more important side of the ball for the Cowboys, and they have the ability to make winning a lot easier for them, even against the best talent the NFL has to offer