One thing is certain in the Dallas Cowboys' up-and-down season: They can beat the New York Giants.
Dallas swept the season series against its NFC East rival with a 37-18 victory on Monday at MetLife Stadium. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott spearheaded the effort in the 5-3 Cowboys' second straight win following a three-game losing streak that puts them a half-game ahead of the 5-4 Philadelphia Eagles in the division race.
As for the 2-7 Giants, this was their fifth straight loss in what has already turned into a lost season.
Notable Fantasy Stats
- DAL QB Dak Prescott: 22-of-35 passing for 257 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
- DAL RB Ezekiel Elliott: 23 carries for 139 yards
- DAL WR Amari Cooper: four catches for 80 yards and one touchdown
- NYG QB Daniel Jones: 26-of-41 passing for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception
- NYG RB Saquon Barkley: 14 carries for 28 yards; six catches for 67 yards
Zeke Wins RB Battle, Opens Door for Dak Prescott
Elliott versus Saquon Barkley was the headlining showdown entering Monday's game, and with good reason.
After all, they are arguably the top two running backs in the league this side of Christian McCaffrey and have been compared since they were Big Ten rivals. Elliott led the league in rushing yards in two of his first three years, while Barkley won Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first season.
Elliott took this round.
He showed no hesitation hitting holes and running through contact, which kept the Cowboys ahead of the chains and allowed them to control the tempo in a relatively low-scoring affair. On the other side, Dallas consistently swallowed Barkley at the line of scrimmage outside of one 65-yard catch on a screen, which was a testament to a defense that entered Monday night ranked fifth in points allowed per game.
Barkley certainly had more of a challenge going up against that group than Elliott faced against a Giants defense that began the contest 28th in points allowed per game and 27th in yards allowed per game.
Zeke's early success forced additional defenders into the box, and Prescott made New York pay with critical fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper to create some much-needed breathing room. Defeating the Giants was business as usual for the signal-caller, who is now 6-0 with 16 touchdown passes to one interception in his last six games against the division rival.
Elliott had more talent around him and was facing a more vulnerable defense, but he has bragging rights over his counterpart after Monday.
Giants Can't Compete with Cowboys or Black Cat
Everything was coming up Giants in the early going.
Prescott threw a terrible interception right to Antoine Bethea on the first snap of the game, which led to a field goal. Brett Maher also missed a field goal, Bethea recovered a Randall Cobb fumble, Prescott saw a touchdown pass nullified by a penalty, and Golden Tate made a spectacular one-handed catch that set up Daniel Jones' touchdown pass to Cody Latimer.
However, everything changed after a black cat found its way onto the field and delayed the action in the second quarter.
Suddenly, Prescott rolled out of the pocket and found a wide-open Blake Jarwin for a 42-yard touchdown. Jones then threw an interception to Xavier Woods in the final minute of the first half, which Maher parlayed into a 52-yard field goal and a 13-12 halftime lead.
It was quite the change from New York's 12-3 lead when the cat was running away from security personnel before it took off down the tunnel.
Things didn't get much better for the Giants in a second half that included Jones losing a fumble on a scramble, the offense stalling in the red zone and Cooper running free when the game was still hanging in the balance.
Superstitious Giants fans at least have a culprit beyond their lackluster team. The black cat may have changed the entire course of the game.
Both teams go outside the division in Week 10. The Cowboys host the Minnesota Vikings, while the Giants are at the New York Jets.