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Giants vs. Cowboys, first look: Shurmur says Giants are better than in Week 1, but are they?

The play on the field certainly hasn’t looked better in recent weeks

New York Giants v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The New York Giants weren’t even close to competitive when they met the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 season opener. The Giants scored first, then got outscored 35-3 en route to a 35-17 defeat.

The Giants gave up 405 yards passing and four touchdowns to Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. Beginning a season-long trend, they gave up seven pass plays of more than 20 yards.

Per Inside Edge, the Giants have given up 35 passing plays of 20 or more yards, second-worst in the NFL. They have surrendered eight runs of that distance, third-worst in the league.

Offensively, the Giants fumbled the ball three times in Week 1, losing two. They now lead the NFL with 19 turnovers.

In other words, the opener looked a lot like what was to come.

Still, coach Pat Shurmur insists that even at 2-6 and lugging around a four-game losing streak the Giants have improved since Week 1.

“I think we’re a better team than when we played them in the opener. We’ve made some improvements in a lot of areas,” Shurmur said. “That first game, we gave up a lot of big plays. We can’t do that and expect to win any games. That’s where you start first and then take it from there.”

Better is debatable. Different is definite.

Daniel Jones is at quarterback rather than Eli Manning, something Demarcus Lawrence of the Cowboys is only too happy to discuss. Wide receiver Golden Tate is back from a four-game PED suspension. If Sterling Shepard clears the concussion protocol, the Giants might even have Tate, Shepard, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram on the field together for the first time all season on Monday.

Defensively, Leonard Williams will debut for the Giants and Deone Bucannon will play in only his second game.

The 4-3 Cowboys lead the NFC East. Coming off a bye week, Dallas is a 7-point favorite.