The Dallas Cowboys' belief in their unheralded back-up QB is growing ahead of a crunch NFC East match-up with the undefeated New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
The internet was awash with 'Who is Cooper Rush?' articles last week, but everyone knows about the undrafted journeyman and former Scout Team quarterback after he engineered Dallas' Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
With nine wins from their last ten meetings, the Cowboys will be confident heading to MetLife Stadium to take on a Giants team who could just as easily be 0-2 as 2-0 right now.
But while Big Blue's players are not exactly lighting up the league so far, New York's new-look coaching staff have been revelatory by comparison to their predecessors thanks to an unreadable offensive scheme, aggressive play-calling on defense and sound game management.
|What||Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants|
|Where||MetLife Stadium, New Jersey|
|When||20:15 ET, Monday September 26th 2022|
|How to watch||ESPN, ABC, ESPN2|
|Odds||DAL Cowboys -105, NY Giants -115|
It doesn't take long for a hype train to leave the station in the NFL and all of Dallas, including Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, leapt aboard the Rush Express after Sunday's win at AT & T Stadium.
The back-up made the plays he needed to by going 19 of 31 passing for 235 yards and a TD with no picks against the Bengals, who were unable to generate enough pressure up front.
He is a game-manager type who knows the playbook inside out from years of sitting on the bench, although there were some questionable throws made against Cincy that could have backfired on another day.
Avoiding mistakes will be the key to both quarterbacks' fortunes on Monday, as the Giants' Daniel Jones seeks to prove his critics wrong in a huge season for him contract-wise.
Head coach Brian Daboll has seemingly kept him on a short leash so far with Jones yet to top 200 yards passing and the Giants ranked 31st overall in passing yards.
The signal-caller does have the NFL's seventh-best completion percentage and the ninth-best passer rating of 99.4, but he's also been sacked eight times, which is tied for third-most in the league.
Jones needed to work on his ball security after coughing up the pill 36 times over the last three seasons and through two games so far, his only fumble came on a blind-side hit in Week 1.
His, and Daboll's, problem this week will be the league's newest star pass rusher - Micah Parsons - who has registered four sacks already this season.
Parsons' stat line against the Bengals last week was scary as he generated ten pressures and five QB hits. The Giants will need to double-team him or chip block with a tight end or running back to give Jones a chance of escaping his clutches.
Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong also had a superb game last Sunday, recording the first multi-sack day of his career and even getting to the Bengals punter on another spectacular stunt up the middle.
How New York handle these two could determine whether the Giants are able to sustain any long drives.
The Giants are about to welcome back two major disruptors of their own with both Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux expecting to play against Dallas.
Thibodeaux, the fifth overall draft selection this year, has missed the first two games of his NFL career with a knee injury while Olujari, who led the team in sacks last season with eight, has been missing with a calf injury.
Giants DC Wink Martindale has been drawing admiration for his aggressive calls anyway, but with two new defensive stars to call upon, Dallas' offensive line could be in for a rough night.
New York are certainly the least convincing of the six remaining unbeaten teams going into Week 2 - if Randy Bullock doesn't miss from 47 yards they go 0-1 and if Graham Gano doesn't make his 56-yard field goal against the Carolina Panthers it could be another 0-2 start for the Giants.
If their luck runs out this week then Dallas make for an attractive underdog play on the Money Line.
It's worth noting that the Over figure of 39.5 points has been surpassed in seven of the past ten matchups between these division rivals with an average total of 51.8 points scored across the last six meetings.
However, the current line reflects the much-lower points totals in both of Rush's prior starts for the Cowboys, a 20-16 win over Minnesota in 2021 and last week's 20-17 victory over the Bengals.