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Giants at Cowboys, Week 2: First look at Sunday night matchup

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Giants will try to avoid falling into dreaded 0-2 hole

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

0-2.

That is the tough-to-climb-out-of pit NFL teams want to avoid falling into. Since 2007, 91 teams have fallen into it. Only 10 (10.9 percent) have climbed out and reached the playoffs.

Both the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys are 0-1 after losing season-opening contests, the Giants to the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-15 and the Cowboys to the Carolina Panthers 16-8.

One of them will leave the field after Sunday night’s game in that 0-2 abyss.

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur has said often that he believes the Giants are on the right path. He told the team’s official website this week that he’s trying not to stress over having lost in Week 1.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of first games of the season,” Shurmur said. “You just move forward. That’s the important thing is you move forward. You learn from the mistakes you made, you build on the things you did well and you just keep moving. That’s the important piece. That may get old as we go through these Mondays with me saying that, but you can win a game and still go through that process. When you lose a game, it hurts more, but you still go through the same process.”

There are 30 players on the Giants roster who weren’t part of last season’s disaster, when the team started 0-5 and finished 3-13. They believe this team is different than last season’s, than most Giants teams of recent vintage that went home for the winter when the regular season ended.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard called the game against Jacksonville “really encouraging” despite the loss.

“If you look at the game, we were a few plays away from coming out with a different outcome,” he said. “But guys do a good job around here just bouncing back and kind of brushing it off, and fixing the things we need to fix and I feel like that’s what we’ll do this week. Be ready for Dallas.”

Odell Beckham Jr. is also spreading the optimistic message.

“There was just a lot of moments and opportunities [against Jacksonville] where we had chances and we didn’t connect. Whether it was the first game or whatever it is, we just missed those chances, but they are right there,” Beckham said. “Our plan is for them to be there all year, so instead of seven points it could have been three extra touchdowns. There’s twenty-eight, it’s just a matter of time before everything starts clicking. We came out and put our best foot forward and it’s a good place to start.”

The Giants opened the week as 3.5-point underdogs. Follow our Giants-Cowboys Hub Page for continuing coverage all week.

The Cowboys are, of course, led on offense by quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. On defense, the big names include linebacker Sean Lee and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who had 14.5 sacks in 2017. Dallas comes off a game in which it scored only 8 points and totaled only 232 yards of total offense.

The Giants got some potentially good news on Tuesday. Coach Pat Shurmur announced on WFAN radio star linebacker Olivier Vernon, who sat out Week 1 with an ankle injury, is expected to practice on Wednesday.

We will have much more coverage throughout the week, including offensive and defensive breakdowns, a look at what to watch on Sunday, and more.

By the numbers

328 — Beckham (324) needs four receptions to surpass former TE Bob Tucker (327) for 8th all-time in receptions in franchise history.

251 — Odell Beckham Jr. needs 251 receiving yards (4,535) over the next two games to surpass Lance Alworth (4,785) for most receiving yards by a player through his first career 50 games.

22-28-1 — That’s the Giants record in Sunday night games.

49 — That’s how many touchdown passes Eli Manning has thrown against Dallas. His most vs. an NFC East opponent is 51 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

4 — That’s how many touchdown passes Manning (339) needs to surpass Fran Tarkenton (342) for sixth-most all-time.