The rivalry between the Giants and Cowboys is one of the most storied and heated in NFL history, so primetime games between them are always big business. And as the first meeting between these teams in 2022 will be on Monday Night Football, Cowboy turned commentator Troy Aikman had to weigh in.
He offered his view of the Giants to the Dallas Morning News on Saturday, saying:
“I’ve seen a team that’s pretty fortunate to be 2-0. Defensively — I don’t want to say they’re like the Cowboys, because I do believe the Cowboys overall are a far better team than what I’ve seen of the Giants. Offensively, they’re just struggling. I think the offensive line’s a work in progress — the whole team is, I guess, for that matter. And that’s what happens when you have the turnover that they’ve had at the head coaching position. …
“And it’s pretty amazing just how far the Giants have fallen. … I used to do a lot of Giants games. And then the last couple of years, I think I’ve only had them on Thursday nights. And so I haven’t seen a lot of them. But I know in the times I’ve gotten ready, I just said man, this team — I know the [Mara family is] flabbergasted at what’s happened to this organization and how few games that they’ve been able to win.
“But I like [Brian] Daboll, and for them to be able to win two games when they’ve really struggled on the offensive side of the ball, the defense has done, you know, it’s kept them in these games and it’s basically won these games. But to be able to win two games when you’re starting out as a new staff, I think goes goes a long, long way. …
“I’ll be interested to see how this game goes. Because like I said, I do feel that Dallas is a lot better in so many areas. Dallas played Tampa, a team that is expected to do a lot. Cincinnati, who just came off the Super Bowl. And they’ve been in those games with a chance to win, and here they are 1-1. I think New York — although I expected more out of Tennessee, but now they’re 0-2 — I just don’t know what exactly New York has, but I don’t think it’s a lot.”
Interviews like these are part of the hype cycle that surrounds a prime time game between two teams with big, passionate fanbases. This could easily be construed as “clickbait” by Aikman, although I do think his full thoughts are a bit too honest for that.
I believe him when he says he likes Daboll, and that winning has cured (or covered) a lot of ills for the Giants. The defense has stepped up and carried the team while they’ve struggled on offense. He isn’t wrong when he says that the Giants are (at least somewhat) fortunate to be 2-0. They could be 1-1 or 0-2 if a few plays went a bit differently, but their coaching and aggressive defense put them in position to capitalize when their opponents failed to make plays.
And I think most Giants fans would agree that the team is a work in progress. They’re still trying to figure out the long-term construction of their offensive line and wide receiver corps. The defense has been effective but it’s also still something of a patchwork, and the team needs to make a decision at the quarterback position.
I’m not going to agree with Aikman that the Cowboys team we see tonight is “a lot better”. Maybe it would hold true if they were healthy and whole. But right now Dallas is without their franchise quarterback and left tackle, as well as their number two receiver (all lost to injury), and are still trying to figure out their offense after trading away Amari Cooper. Dallas might be more talented than the Giants in some areas, but “a lot”? Nah.
It might be galling, but I do have to agree with Aikman that this game could be very interesting.