There’s plenty of arguments to be had over which NFC East rivalry is the best. If you ask New York Giants fans, you might get various responses about which rival they hate the most. Some might say the Eagles, some the Cowboys, others may bring up the New York and Boston rivalry and say the Patriots. But right now, there’s only one rivalry taking center stage, and that’s the Giants and Cowboys.
The game didn’t mean much last year as both teams missed the playoffs, both teams falling off in years where their fans had big expectations. For the Giants, it was supposed to be a contending season following a playoff appearance in 2016 and the addition of Brandon Marshall during the offseason, who ended up not panning out and only lasting a year with the team.
Dallas, on the other hand, was already coming off of a prolific regular season and had looked to build on it as Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot picked up more experience. Instead, they were anything but prolific. Their 9-7 record was good enough for second in the division, but not enough for the playoffs, and the season didn’t compare to their 13-3 one in 2016.
Now, both teams enter with the same record, 0-1. The Giants lost a close one to the Jacksonville Jaguars following a terrible performance from a certain infamous offensive lineman, and the Cowboys lost to Carolina after only scoring 8 points. The pressure is on for two of the most popular teams in the league, who will both attempt to reverse their bad starts on a nationally televised Sunday Night Football game.
It’s in games like this that rivalry matters, even if this is the earlier of the two meetings between the teams. Bragging rights isn’t the only thing on the line. Momentum is, too. If either team beats their rival, their 0-1 start will become more of a distant memory.
Start 0-2, on the other hand? There will be plenty of fans that are willing to say the season is already over, before the third game is even played. For the players, an 0-2 start would also surely create some doubts. It’s safe to say there’s a lot riding on the result here, for both teams.
But that’s not to say that bragging rights aren’t an important part of a rivalry game. “I hate the Cowboys… It’s tradition here, and that’s just what it is,” said Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson. It’s a sentiment that all Giants fans are able to relate to. “We don’t like them, they don’t like us, and it’s always hard-nosed great games versus one another.”