Giants eager to shake off past prime-time struggles against Cowboys – New York Post

Giants eager to shake off past prime-time struggles against Cowboys - New York Post

Is he?

“Yes, I do,” said Daniel Jones. “I think we all do.”

Really? He does? Do they all do?

How can Jones or any of his Giants teammates the past three years say with a straight face that they enjoy playing under the prime-time lights? Sure, the football world is watching, but what those questioning eyes saw is the worst in Jones and the Giants. There have been close games, not so close games, terrible finishes and the sting of dominance. What it wasn’t was a win. Not one. Not for quite some time.

The Giants, with new head coach Brian Daboll, are in the process of changing the fortunes of the franchise. Winning the season opener then the next game isn’t something that’s been going on around these parts since 2016. Excitement and anticipation are building. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Daniel Jones, right, and Brian Daboll at Giants practice.
Daniel Jones, right, and Brian Daboll at Giants practice.
Noah K. Murray-NY Post

The bright light, however, is what has caused the giants to wither for too long. They are 0-10 in their past 10 games played at night on national television. Since beating the 49ers on the road on Nov. 12, 2018, the Giants are 0-6 on Monday nights, 0-3 on Thursday nights and 0-1 on Sunday nights.

Here they go again. The Giants will face the Cowboys on “Monday Night Football,” and the call is for a “white” event at MetLife Stadium — fans are asked to wear white shirts to match the Giants’ all-white Color Rush jerseys. Anything possible to prevent the usual darkness from infiltrating the evening scene.

“We’ve just got to come out and play our game,” Jones said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. Prime time or not, we haven’t won enough games over the last few years.”

Jones is 0-8 in his career in games played in primetime, which could be a reason why there is so much concern outside of the Giants universe about his ability to be a franchise quarterback. Heck, there’s a lot of doubt about it from within the fanbase.

So far this season, Jones has played mostly errorless ball and come up with game-winning plays throughout both games, and the byproduct has created a fantastic head coaching start for Daboll. What follows may further disassociate him from past regimes. The Giants haven’t started 3-0 since 2009 and they’ve lost nine of their past 10 games against the Cowboys.

“Playing on a Monday night is always special, but the things that help you win a game on Sunday at 1 o’clock are the things that help you win a game on Monday,” Daboll said. “And I think that’s where our focus needs to be.”

No one can be quite sure about any of these teams. The Giants win with defense and a heavy dose of running back Saquon Barkley. The Cowboys are 1-1 despite scoring just 23 total points, and Cooper Rush is 1-0 this season as the starting quarterback, filling in for an injured Dak Prescott. Rush, 28, spent the summer of 2020 and a month on the practice squad with the Giants. There have been plenty of glowing comments from the Giants about Rush, undrafted out of Central Michigan, entering his third NFL start.

“He’s a smooth operator out there, and he’s not upset,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “Our job is to try to upset him.”

The Giants expect to have their young edge rushers, Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux, available after they missed the first two games with injuries. That Thibodeaux’s much-anticipated NFL debut will come in a stand-alone game is fitting, as he’s a big personality taking on a big stage.

“Big games like this — whether it’s a national championship, Super Bowl, ‘Monday Night Football,’ not saying it compares to the Super Bowl — in a sense where everybody’s watching, I wouldn’t say it adds pressure to me , but in a sense where if you do better, it gets stronger,” Thibodeaux said.

Jones acknowledged that for Monday night’s game, “there’s some energy, there’s some excitement to it.” Throughout his stay with the Giants, there’s also been heartache attached to it. Here’s another chance to show how different these Giants are.

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