EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is superstitious. Coach Jason Garrett claims he is not, but he has been known to follow the same routine, such as wearing the same sweatshirt day after day.
When a black cat ran on the field in the second quarter Monday, things certainly did not favor the Cowboys, with quarterback Dak Prescott's first pass of the game intercepted, wide receiver Randall Cobb losing a fumble and place-kicker Brett Maher missing a 54-yard field goal attempt to the left.
But after the cat scampered off the MetLife Stadium field, the Cowboys' luck changed, and they were fortunate enough to leave with a 37-18 win, having outscored the Giants 34-9 after the feline left the field.
A 5-3 mark at the NFL season's midway point is significantly better than 4-4. This was a key matchup for the Cowboys with the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) winning two straight entering their bye week. Sunday's Week 10 game against the Minnesota Vikings (6-3) only gets more important.
Prescott threw three touchdown passes after seeing his first pass of the night intercepted and has won eight straight games against division foes. Considering that the Cowboys' easiest path to the postseason is through the NFC East, that ought to mean something.
Describe the game in two words: Jets-like. Is that two words or one? Regardless, this will not go down as one of the Cowboys' finer performances. In fact, it looked a lot like the 24-22 loss to the previously winless New York Jets on Oct. 13.
Buy Elliott's performance: Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for more than 100 yards in three straight games and is finding his groove, finishing with a season-high 139 yards Monday.
Elliott might have needed some time to get into the flow after spending training camp in Cabo, Mexico, during a contract holdout, but he is getting stronger at the right time. He has five 100-yard rushing games this season, putting him on pace to surpass the most 100-yard games he has had in a season, with seven in 2016 and 2018.
He has 24 100-yard games in his pro career, tying him with Larry Johnson and Adrian Peterson for 11th-most in a player's first four seasons since the 1970 merger. Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith has the most in Cowboys' team history through a player's first four seasons, with 25.
With the way Elliott is trending in 2019, he might tie that mark next week.
Promising trend: In the first six games of the season, the Cowboys had two takeaways. In their past two, they have seven takeaways, with safety Xavier Woods creating two against the Giants with a second-quarter interception and a third-quarter fumble and Jourdan Lewis returning a fumble for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys turned the Woods takeaways into two field goals. They had four takeaways in the Oct. 20 win against the Eagles and turned those into 21 points.