EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In another time and another place - probably in October, when the Dallas Cowboys play at the Rams and at the Eagles - "America's Team'' will concern itself with how it's going to rise up to manage to score points at an NFL-mediocrity level.
But on Monday night at New York? All coach Mike McCarthy's team needed to do was outscore QB Daniel Jones' Giants.
And a 23-16 wins shows that is eminently doable.
The Cowboys, the defending NFC East division champions, moved to 2-1 on the season and slowed down the Giants to the same record by following a no-matter-what five-year-plus pattern: These two teams have now played 11 games during that time period ...
And Dallas has won 10 of 'em.
Dallas eked out the win here on the strength of its Micah Parsons-captained defense (he missed most of the preparatory practices for this game due to illness while seeking his Michael Jordan "Flu Game'' here), on the leg of successful-retread kicker Brett Maher, who booted two first-half field goals as Dallas took a 6-3 lead to intermission, and on CeeDee Lamb's personal Three-Hour Redemption Tour?
What did Dallas do on offense with quarterback Dak Prescott's biggest activity on Monday being the removal of stitches following thumb surgery?
Well, understudy QB Cooper Rush is now 3-0 lifetime as a starter. And maybe history won't bother remembering what a struggle it was to get there - at least for a while, until second-half TDs from a grinding Ezekiel Elliott and a reborn Lamb.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy predicted that this game might be different than recent clashes, in part because New York has a new coach in Brian Daboll.
''Obviously, we're not the same as we were last year. They're not the same as they were last year,'' McCarthy said. ''We're both going to play a little differently.''
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We're betting, though, that Giants fans, having now watched Jones lose nine straight prime-time games, don't see this as "different.''
And Cowboys Nation's view?
On defense ... Reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Parsons helped Dallas keep racking up numbers. Dorance Armstrong recorded both a sack and an all-important blocked field goal while DeMarcus Lawrence had a trio of sacks before hurting his foot.
Meanwhile, Dallas largely controlled NFL rushing leader Saquon Barkley, New York's only real weapon, though his TD did give New York a brief second-half lead.
On offense ... Dallas' running game actually worked well, by the numbers. By halftime, Tony Pollard and Elliott had combined for 126 yards on 14 carries, a 10.5-yards-per clip. ... and Zeke's TD was the capper.
But the passing game? Rush's numbers were not impressive for quite some time - and were not helped by a disappointing deep-ball drop by Lamb ...
But one that he would overcome with his toe-tapping one-handed pull-in of a Rush lob in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas a fourth-quarter seven-point edge that would prove insurmountable. ... and, for the better part of five-plus years, recognizable.
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